National Union of Tunisian Journalists
Tunis – Azhaar Al-Jarboui
The National Union of Tunisian Journalists announced they will sue Assembly Member Halima Al-Qenni, who belongs to the Ennahda Movement. The Tunisian National Assembly member is accused by the Union of national treason;
they suspect her to still be in contact with the former President Ben Ali. The Head of the Union of Tunisian Journalists Najiba Al-Hamrouni told Arabstoday: “All legal actions will be taken against Halima Al-Qenni. The Union rejects any attempt to misrepresent or undermine the Tunisian press by those wanting to drag the country backwards.”
Halima Al-Qenni denounced the French Ambassador’s support to the journalist general strike on Wednesday. She said at the Assembly: “The French Ambassador’s support damages Tunisian dignity and assaults our sovereignty.”
Al-Qenni questioned the patriotism and the independence of the journalist union. She accused the union leaders of following orders from foreign bodies aiming to shake the security and stability of Tunisia.
She went as far as saying that a group of Tunisian journalists is trying to divide the Tunisian people in order to have Ben Ali’s followers back in power.
The Assembly Member’s intervention irritated the journalists who were covering the Assembly session on Saturday. The journalists interrupted the session and left the hall despite attempts by the Head of Ennahda movement to stop them.
The journalist union denounced what they called an assault on Tunisian journalists and the incitement to violence from the Assembly Member.”
On Saturday, the Union of Journalists said: “Al-Qenni will be sued; the Ennahda movement should take responsibility for the irresponsible statements released by their representatives. We demand an apology from the Assembly to the Union of Journalists.”
More than 90% of Tunisian journalists took part in the strike according to the Union.
In a related context, the French Embassy in Tunis responded to Tunisian Minister of Foreign Affairs Rafiq Abdel Salam’s criticism about the visit of the French Ambassador Francois Gouyette to the National Union of Tunisian Journalists.
The Embassy issued a statement saying that the Ambassador visited the headquarters of the National Union of Tunisian Journalists only one day before the general strike by the Tunisian journalists.
The Embassy stressed that the visit was to show their support for the freedom of press. Rafiq Abdel Salam warned that interfering in the country’s internal affairs was a red line.