The Independent High Authority for Audiovisual Communication (HAICA) strongly criticised the decision by the investigating judge at the Court of First Instance in Tunis on October 7, 2022 to ban airing an episode of the “Four Truths”, an investigative TV programme on private channel “Elhiwar Ettounsi”.
The stated reason for such ban was to ensure the proper conduct of investigations and the secrecy of the investigation.
In a statement Tuesday, the HAICA said it rejected the excessive and unjustified use of the reason of the secrecy of investigations as a tool to muzzle the press and limit its central role in revealing the truth.
It also warned against the danger of seeing some judges resorting, for convenience, to prior censorship and turning this measure into a tool of censorship and a serious threat to the exercise of press freedom and media independence.
The HAICA emphasised that the duty to ensure the respect of the progress of the investigation and not to disclose data likely to affect the investigation in progress, to harm the private life of the persons or to violate the presumption of innocence, does in any way mean obstructing the journalistic work.
As such, it urged the Ministry of Justice and judicial institutions to put an end to these abuses and to assume their responsibility to ensure the application of the law, the protection of rights and freedoms and respect for the principles of media freedom and regulatory prerogatives of the commission.
Source: Tap News Agency