New York, February 24, 2023 — In response to news reports that Tunisian journalist Mohamed Mehdi Jlassi, president of the National Syndicate of Tunisian Journalists, faces prosecution for allegedly inciting disobedience and assaulting police during a July 2022 protest in the capital Tunis, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement on Friday:
“Tunisian authorities must stop their judicial harassment of journalist Mohamed Mehdi Jlassi and withdraw the unsubstantiated police complaint against him,” said Sherif Mansour, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator. “Prosecuting journalists on charges unrelated to journalism is clear intimidation.”
Jlassi told Reuters that there had been no attack or clash with the police during the protest and that he believed the police action was an attempt to intimidate his organization and silence criticism of Tunisia’s president.
In September 2022, Jlassi spoke with CPJ about the deterioration of press freedom in Tunisia after President Kais Saied dismissed the prime minister and froze parliament on July 25, 2021. CPJ’s email to the Tunisian Ministry of Interior did not receive a response.