Tunisia detains journalist for refusing to reveal sources – Middle East Monitor

Tunisian authorities have arrested a local radio journalist for refusing to reveal his sources, the National Union of Tunisian Journalists (SNJT) announced yesterday.

The body said counter-terrorism police had arrested Khalifa Guesmi, a journalist working at Mosaic FM in the central region of Kairouan on Friday under anti-terrorism laws after writing an article for the starion site on the dismantling of a “terrorist cell”.

The article, which was later withdrawn at the request of the authorities, reported that a former soldier and a university professor had been members of the cell.

The union said an anti-terrorism judge also summoned two others Mosaic FM journalists including editor-in-chief Houcine Dabbabi for questioning in the same case.

SNJT leader Mahdi Jlassi told a press conference on Wednesday that Guesmi’s arrest is “an attack on freedom of the press…and on journalists’ right of access to information.”

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Jlassi described the arrest as “the most serious attack” on press freedom since the 2011 revolution and especially since last July, when President Kais Saied suspended parliament and seized a set of powers”.

“This reflects a policy of using state institutions to silence and intimidate journalists. It is an attack on the right of journalists to protect their sources, which is guaranteed by Tunisian law,” he said. he adds.

Earlier on Tuesday, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) said Tunisia should “immediately release” Guesmi.

“President Saied has a duty to defend freedom of the press and ensure the safety of our colleagues in the performance of their duties,” said IFJ President Anthony Bellanger.

“We cannot allow journalists to be continually targeted.”

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