Tunisian journalists fear press freedom constraints
The National Syndicate of Tunisian Journalists (SNJT) on Wednesday (August 8th) officially rejected a government proposal for a new committee to regulate media, Tunisia Live reported.
Ever since the National Constituent Assembly commission responsible for "constitutional institutions" drafted the proposal last month, the plan has faced criticism for potentially limiting free speech and allowing government controlled media.
In related news Wednesday, human rights watchdog Amnesty International voiced concern about restrictions on basic freedoms in Tunisia. The rights group issued the statement in reaction to the August 5th arrest of award-winning Tunisian journalist Sofiene Chourabi on charges of public intoxication and 'harming public morals".
A day before his arrest, Chourabi had called for a protest in front of the Interior Ministry against what he said were moves by the government, to impose restrictions on public freedom.
"While protecting public morals or public order may sometimes be a legitimate reason for restricting freedom of expression, such a restriction may only be imposed if absolutely necessary, and even then the least restrictive measure possible should be taken," said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, deputy director of Amnesty International's MENA programme.
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