Monday, February 02, 2009

Tunisia: Violence against community radio journalists

AMARC Europe has issued a Press Release (28/01/09) expressing deep concern over "the harassment of Tunisian Independent journalists suffered by the new Independent Radio project, Radio Kalima.

Yesterday the coordinator of the project, Dhafer Otay, was held for the entire day by the Tunisian police, which prevented him from entering the radio studios. He was threatened of deeper consequences and prison, if he should continue working within the radio project. This morning, the police have doubled the staff and prevented the secretary of CNLT (Conseil National Pour Les Libertés en Tunisie) from entering the office of CNLT which is in the same building.
A human rights activist, Makhlouf Zouhayr, who came to express solidarity, was severely beaten by the police; Omar Mestiri, managing editor of the Kalima platform, was copiously insulted while he was trying to stop them. At present the Radio Kalima editorial staff is still under siege.

"We ask Tunisian authorities to cease immediately those odious intimidations», said Mariano Sanchez, President of the European branch of the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters. «We firmly condemn the dictatorship methods put in place by the Tunisian Government, and we ask the EU to block immediately all the commercial relations with Tunisia, until the basic human rights will be guaranteed".

Since Monday the 26th of January, Radio Kalima can also be listened to through Med Info Radio satellite channel, the first all info radio channel based on community radio and independent production centres in the Mediterranean basin, a project led by the italian radio agency AMISnet.

For more information: Francesco Diasio, AMARC Europe: +39.06.8632 8312

Sihem Bensedrine, founder of CNLT +43.676757 4556

More information here and here