Al Jazeera Media Network has condemned the raid by the Tunisian Security Forces on its Bureau in Tunis and expelling its journalists.
In a statement yesterday, Al Jazeera said at least 10 security personnel barged into the office without warrants, confiscated the office keys and did not allow journalists back into the building to retrieve their personal belongings.
“The security personnel did not explain why the office had been raided; merely saying they were following orders. Al Jazeera considers this action by the Tunisian authorities as a troubling escalation and fears it will impede fair and objective coverage of unfolding events in the country.
“Al Jazeera calls on the Tunisian authorities to allow its journalists to operate unhindered, and be allowed to practice their profession without fear or intimidation. The Network values the solidarity of human rights and media organisations for their condemnation of these actions against Al Jazeera’s bureau in Tunisia.
“In a world in which the media and journalists face increasing threats, Al Jazeera views this as an attack on press freedom as a whole,” the statement added.
Earlier, Tunisian police yesterday closed the office of Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera television in the capital Tunis, its bureau chief said, amid political turmoil in the North African country, AFP reported from Tunis.
“Around 15 policemen, some in uniform others in civilian clothes, entered our offices and asked us to leave,” Al Jazeera director in Tunis Lotfi Hajji said. The move came a day after President Kais Saied ousted the prime minister and suspended parliament, following a day of street protests against the government’s handling of the Covid pandemic. Hajji said the police told Al Jazeera staff “we are following orders”.
“What is happening is very dangerous, it is proof that freedom of the press is threatened. Today it is Al Jazeera, another day another media,” Hajji said.
AFP contacted the interior minister for further details but no immediate explanations were given for the closure of the outlet’s office.
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