SNJT VP describes situation of media sector as alarming

(TAP) – Vice-president of the National Union of Tunisian Journalists (SNJT), Amira Mohamed said Tuesday “freedom of the press continues to decline at every opportunity,” calling the current situation “alarming.”
Speaking at a press conference at the headquarters of the union, she noted that journalists are prevented from accessing the Presidency of the Republic and the Prime Ministry for media coverage of activities that take place in the absence of media organs and with speeches addressed directly to Tunisians.
Amira Mohamed, in this context, regretted to see journalists prevented from covering the inaugural session of parliament. This is a “violation of the right of journalists to coverage and citizens’ right to information. It is also a prejudice to the image of Tunisia insofar as this issue has made the international news,” she added.
“What happened Monday has harmed the MPs who have excluded themselves, by supporting this blackout.”
She also denounced MP Fatma Mseddi’s remarks on the issue, saying that some MPs had expressed their displeasure to the union over the exclusion of journalists from the inaugural session of parliament.
The SNJT vice-president assured that the union’s executive office had contacted the new president of the Assembly of the People’s Representatives, Brahim Bouderbala, who “had a positive interaction with the union”.
She called on journalists covering Wednesday’s session of the Internal Regulations Committee to wear the red armband as a sign of solidarity with their colleagues who were denied access to the chamber.
The union will prepare a list of MPs who have called to prevent journalists from attending the inaugural session and those who will speak out at the meeting of the Committee on Rules of Procedure against freedom of journalistic work in parliament. These MPs must be made to face their responsibility, said Amira Mohamed.
She said that the executive office of the union is in permanent session to follow the meeting of the committee on internal regulations and the meeting with the president of parliament and the decisions that will follow, in connection with the work of journalism.
The SNJT had “strongly” condemned in a statement Monday the decision to prevent journalists from private, community and foreign media, (print media, electronic, radio and television) to cover the inaugural session of the Assembly of People’s Representatives (ARP) and allow only public media.
The union said that prohibiting journalists to cover the opening of the parliament is “a serious precedent that confiscates a right guaranteed by the Constitution and the Tunisian law.”

Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse (TAP)