The Tunisian Press Syndicate
Tunisia – Nabil Zaghdoud
The Tunisian Press Syndicate slammed the latest raid carried out on Tuesday by tax department officials on the headquarters of the private Al-Tunisia channel and Cactus television production
company which they described as “illegal.” The Tunisian ministry of finance justified the raid, as a “checking measure” and stated “supervision is not a penalty, but a protection for citizens”.
The press Syndicate described the raid in a statement Wednesday as an “illegal break in” adding that “the Tunisian Press Syndicate places this in the context of attempting to terrorise fellow journalists working for this institution and tightening the rope on the Al-Tunisia channel and all those working in it”.
The statement considered the storming a blow for freedom of the press and freedom of expression. The raid was also called “the implementation of a narrow agenda aimed at beleaguering any media production, subjugating some media organizations, and taming this sector.”
At the same time, the syndicate affirmed that “our stance doesn’t mean excluding any media organization from legal procedure related to the transparency of its financial transactions, or our commitment to the rights of journalists and employees working for it, on condition that this is done according to the rules of legal practice.”
The general management of Al-Tunisia channel and Cactus stated late Tuesday “the storming and inspection of their headquarters by armed tax department special forces was meant to ensure the soundness of its financial transactions. In addition, the tax department contacted all brokers, with the aim of terrorising them to stop dealing with the channel to incapacitate the channel and cause it to go bankrupt”.
The Tunisian ministry of finance justified the raid, and said in a statement that the tax officials “carried out usual procedures to ensure the accuracy of the information it received concerning the flow of work in the company, the equipment and tools and financial transactions in Tunisian dinar and foreign currency.”