13 November 2008

Alert

Independent TV reporter wanted by police for coverage of unrest in mining region


Incident details

Fahem Boukadous

journalist(s)

This is available in:

English Français
(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders calls for the withdrawal of the charges brought against Fahem Boukadous, a reporter for the independent Tunisian television station Al-Hiwar Attounsi. Boukadous, who went into hiding on 5 July 2008, is wanted by the authorities on charges of "belonging to a criminal association" and "spreading reports liable to disrupt public order" for his coverage of protests earlier this year in the Gafsa mining region, 350 km south of Tunis, and because he put foreign news media in contact with labour leaders in the region.

Radhia Nasraoui, a lawyer who heads the Association for Combating Torture in Tunisia (ALTT), told a Reporters Without Borders delegation in Tunis in 11 November: "The indictment accuses Boukadous of establishing contacts with the demonstrators for his reporting. Whenever his name is mentioned, it is in connection with his work as a journalist."

Reporters Without Borders said: "The Tunisian authorities cannot keep reiterating their commitment to press freedom at every major national event if a journalist is forced to go into hiding. The scant media coverage of such an important development as the unrest in Gafsa shows how little leeway the Tunisia media enjoy when covering national political news."

The press freedom organisation added: "Boukadous was in the right place at the right time to cover this unrest. As a result of being hounded by the authorities, he had to abandon his work in order to avoid certain arrest. We call for the charges to be dropped so that he can be reunited with his family and go back to work as a reporter."

Boukadous, 38, became an Al-Hiwar Attounsi correspondent in 2006. He was the first television reporter to cover the demonstrations in Gafsa, a phosphate mining region with higher than average unemployment. He filmed the marches, interviewed the population and covered the dozens of arbitrary arrests of participants, many of who are still in pre-trial detention.

The footage shot by Boukadous was used by many leading pan-Arab news media and was posted on video-sharing websites such as YouTube and Dailymotion, both of which are censored in Tunisia. He faces up to 10 years in prison.

There have been major protests and demonstrations by workers in the Gafsa region since 5 January. The authorities have arrested dozens of demonstrators and labour leaders on the streets and in their homes. The police still control access to the region and restrict visits by the media.



Source

Tunisia

IFEX members working in this country 1

 
More from Tunisia
  • Freedom on the Net 2017: Tunisia

    Police union activist Walid Zarrouk was sentenced to one year in prison for criticizing members of a counterterrorism unit on Facebook

  • Freedom of the Press 2017: Tunisia

    At least three journalists were charged in military court for allegedly insulting the army through their work.

  • Freedom of the Press 2016: Tunisia

    A significant increase in violence against journalists was registered during the year, culminating in the assault by police officers of more than 30 journalists attempting to cover a high-profile terrorist attack in Tunis in November.


At this point, would publish cover: "Home page"
At this point, would publish story-with-this-as-anchor: "TV reporter sentenced in absentia to six years in prison for covering demonstrations"
At this point, would publish story-with-this-as-anchor: "Four journalists including one working for Radio Kalima detained, questioned for several hours; issue of weekly "Ettarik Al-Jadid" seized; six-years sentence against journalist Fahem Boukadous upheld"
At this point, would publish story-with-this-as-anchor: "Journalist Fahem Boukadous comes out of hiding"
At this point, would publish story-with-this-as-anchor: "Journalist sentenced to four years in prison"
At this point, would publish story-with-this-as-anchor: "CPJ urges government to end harassment of independent journalists"
At this point, would publish story-with-this-as-anchor: "Journalist Fahem Boukaddous sentenced to four years in prison"
At this point, would publish story-with-this-as-anchor: "IFEX-TMG condemns jail term handed to journalist Fahem Boukaddous"
At this point, would publish story-with-this-as-anchor: "Journalist Fahem Boukaddous addresses public in open letter"
At this point, would publish story-with-this-as-anchor: "IFEX-TMG appeals to Tunisia's partners to save the life of ailing journalist in prison"
 
IFEX is a global network of committed organisations working to defend and promote free expression.
Permission is granted for material on this website to be reproduced or republished in whole or in part provided the source member and/or IFEX is cited with a link to the original item.