Police officers stand guard outside Tunisia's parliament in Tunis on March 13, 2023. Independent journalists were banned from covering the parliament's opening session. (Reuters/Zoubeir Souissi)

Independent journalists banned from covering opening session of new Tunisian parliament

New York, March 14, 2023—In response to news reports that Tunisian lawmakers on Monday banned all non-state media journalists from covering the opening session of parliament, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement of condemnation:

“Barring journalists from covering the opening session of Tunisia’s new parliament is President Kais Saied’s latest attempt to censor the news and crack down on press freedom,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour. “Tunisian authorities must allow all members of the press to cover historic events without harassment or favoritism.”

On Monday, March 13, lawmakers announced that only state media outlets would be able to cover the session, the first since parliament’s dissolution in July 2021, to avoid “disorder” and stop the spread of an “inappropriate image” of the parliament, according to those reports.

CPJ emailed the parliament for comment but did not receive any response.