Jailed Tunisian journalists reflect growing repression of media freedom

On Oct. 5, the Tunisian judiciary sentenced four people to prison, including a female journalist, on charges of spying and harming state security through social media pages, raising the anger of rights organizations that fear the return of tyranny.

In their joint statement on October 6, the National Syndicate of Tunisian Journalists confirmed their rejection of military trials of civilians, journalists and activists based on their positions, views and publications.

Their move comes against the background of a heightened arrest campaign of journalists and activists, most of whom oppose President Kais Saied who ousted the government and suspended parliament with help from the army on July 25, 2021.

The syndicate warned against the return to freedom restrictions and considered these trials a setback for freedom of expression and a blow to democracy and the right to disagree.

Ramzi Afdhal, a member of the executive office of the National Syndicate of Tunisian Journalists, told local media that referring journalists and civilians to military courts is an unconstitutional procedure and a negative indication for the future of the public freedoms in the country.