Journalist Ramzi Bettaiebi
Three prominent Tunisian bloggers have started a hunger strike in protest against military intervention to stifle press freedom, which, they said, "was one of the main objectives of the Tunisian revolution."
The bloggers; Aziz Amami, Lina Ben Mehanna (nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011) and Amin Matirawi, issued a statement Tuesday, announcing the beginning of an open-ended hunger strike in consolidation with the journalist Ramzi Bettaiebi, who launched a hunger strike on May 28, after military police seized the cameras he used to capture the trial of ousted president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali and his security chiefs.
Bettaiebi, who works for Nawaat, a collective blog, said his cameras were confiscated on May 21, when he was filming the trial of Ben Ali and 22 co-accused, over their role in crushing anti-regime protests, in the north-western town of Kef.
Several Tunisian bloggers have launched campaigns on Facebook and Twitter, called "Take the camera if you can present the truth", seeking this case to be withdrawn from the military judiciary and lodged with a civil court, as criticism escalates against the military judiciary. Other activists have called for the hearings of the trial to be publicy broadcast to guarantee complete transparency for Tunisia's citizens.
The Tunisian Association of Citizen's Press had earlier voiced its condemnation against the violations made against Bettaiebi, announcing their full support for him in his cause.
"These practises are not acceptable in "post-revolution Tunisia, as they are considered serious violations against press freedom, which is one of the foundations of any democratic state," said the association via a press statement.
The statement added: "This proves that press freedom and independence still have a way to go to be protected in Tunisia. The association strongly condemns all military measures which hinder the work of journalists and bloggers, whether in gaining access to information or in photographing and filming the events."