Tunisian journalists blame government for drop in free speech index

After the release of Reporters Without Borders’ free speech index for 2017, the Tunisian Journalists’ Syndicate blamed the government for the retreat of free speech in the country, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported yesterday.

The report indicated that Tunisia was ranked 96th in the list of world countries on the free speech index, but this year it slipped to 97th – one step backwards.

According to Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, the Syndicate had warned the Tunisian government throughout the past year that the situation of freedom of speech was retreating in the country. The Syndicate said that it met with senior state officials and discussed the “dangers” of this issue on the transitional democratic process and on Tunisia’s reputation.

In a statement, the Syndicate counted the indications that led to this retreat, including restrictions imposed on the freedom of speech and freedom of expression in the country. It noted that the government uses “exceptional measures” to suppress freedoms.

About the forms of these measures, the Syndicate counted the state of emergency, military courts, the anti-terror act affecting publications, official interference in mass media and the increasing physical abuses against journalists.

The Syndicate said that in the light of such atmosphere, it is “logical” and “natural” that these basic rights would take a backward step.

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