The Tunisian Journalists Syndicate called for a protest today, Monday, against Presidential Decree 54 regulating crimes related to information and communication systems, in response to summoning journalists for investigation.
The Syndicate called on journalists and human rights activists to participate in the vigil in front of the security headquarters in the Al-Qarjani area of the capital, where the two journalists, Elias Al-Gharbi and Haitham Al-Makki from the private radio station “Mosaic”, are being investigated by the sub-department for criminal cases.
The investigation comes after a lawsuit was filed by a security union that objected to the content of a program on Radio Mosaique, the first radio station in Tunisia, that talked about the security establishment and the latest developments in the country, including the attack on the vicinity of the Gharib Synagogue about two weeks ago.
In a statement on Sunday, the syndicate announced its solidarity with “the victims of Decree 54 and the victims of arbitrary trials and detentions.”
“We are journalists, we are not criminals. The battle for freedoms has a long and difficult path, but we believe in it,” said journalist Elias Gharbi, radio station Mosaique.
President Kais Saied pledged to protect freedom of expression and the press the day after he announced the exceptional measures in the country in 2021 and subsequently dissolved several constitutional bodies, but human rights organizations fear a setback for freedoms due to the frequency of lawsuits in opinion and publishing cases.
The Syndicate carried out several previous protests against the repeated arrests and trials of journalists and bloggers, amid fears of escalating restrictions on freedom of expression, and called for the withdrawal of the presidential decree.
This week, the police arrested two young men who posted a satirical song critical of security on social media before releasing them. A court also sentenced a journalist from “Mosaique” to 5 years in prison on charges of disclosing information related to an ongoing terrorist operation.