Tunisian security officers hold back protesters outside the parliament building in the capital Tunis on July 26, 2021, following a move by the president to suspend the country's parliament and dismiss the prime minister. Tunisian security forces raided Al-Jazeera today. (AFP/Fethi Belaid)

Tunisian authorities raid Al-Jazeera bureau amid political turmoil

New York, July 26, 2021 – In response to news reports that Tunisian security forces today stormed Qatari broadcaster Al-Jazeera’s Tunis bureau, ordered staff to leave the building, confiscated equipment, and barred staff from returning, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement: 

“Today’s raid by Tunisian security forces on Al-Jazeera’s bureau jeopardizes the country’s bellwether status for press freedom in the region, 10 years after Tunisians fought to begin a transition to democracy,” said CPJ Senior Middle East and North Africa Researcher Justin Shilad. “Tunisian authorities must immediately and unconditionally allow Al-Jazeera’s Tunis bureau to resume operations and let all journalists in the country work freely.”

The raid came a day after Tunisian President Kais Saied fired Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi and froze parliament’s activities, amid protests over the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic issues, according to news reports.