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Al Jazeera condemns raid on Tunis office

Al Jazeera’s studio

News and factual network Al Jazeera has condemned a raid on its office in Tunisia by local security forces, describing it as “an attack on press freedom as a whole.”

At least 10 Tunisian police stormed the media company’s office in the nation’s capital Tunis on Monday and expelled all reporters without a warrant.

According to the Qatari government-funded international Arabic news channel, its journalists were ordered to turn off their phones and were not allowed to re-enter the building to retrieve personal belongings.

The officers involved, who confiscated the keys to the office, said they were carrying out orders.

The raid comes a day after president Kais Saied sacked the Tunisian prime minister and suspended parliament following mass protests in Tunis over the Ennahda government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

The move has been described as a coup by Tunisia’s main political parties. The BBC has reported that Al Jazeera has been viewed as sympathetic to Ennahda.

In a statement, Al Jazeera said it feared the raid will “impede fair and objective coverage of unfolding events in the country” and labelled it a “troubling escalation” amid political and social turmoil.

The statement added: “Al Jazeera calls on the Tunisian authorities to allow its journalists to operate unhindered and be allowed to practise their profession without fear or intimidation.

“The network values the solidarity of human rights and media organisations for their condemnation of these actions against Al Jazeera’s bureau in Tunisia. In a world in which the media and journalists face increasing threats, Al Jazeera views this as an attack on press freedom as a whole.”


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