NAFCC condemns the detention of a foreign correspondent in Tunis

The NAFCC expresses its concern at the growing pressure faced by foreign journalists working in Tunisia.

In the latest incident on Sunday, January, 14th, Michel Picard, the french correspondent of RFI, who was covering the visit of the tunisian president Beiji Caïd Essebsi in Ettadhamen, west of Tunis, was briefely detained while reporting.

Policemen first banned him from talking to people who had gathered around the Youth Club that the president was inaugurating. The journalist then walked away to do some interviews. A man, refusing to introduce himself, held him firmly by the arm and took him to a military vehicule. After waiting there 15 minutes with no information, the journalist then decided to walk away and resume reporting.

Later as he was leaving the area, he was picked up by a car from the Garde nationale. At the police station, Michel Picard, who is officially registered as a journalist with the tunisian State, was asked why he was wandering alone. The tone was polite, but he was only released after signing a document in arabic, with no translation.

The NAFCC also regrets the excessive zeal of the policemen in charge of screening people around the avenue Habib Bourguiba in Tunis, where gatherings were taking place today. Journalists, including cameramen and photographers, were blocked for several minutes under pretext of controlling their documentation.
These journalists had official press cards from the Prime minister’s communication office, as well as an an official authorization to film.

These incidents come three days after another journalist, free-lancer Mathieu Galtier, was summonded to the Garde Nationale office in the Bardo in Tunis, where he was asked to reveal the name of his contacts and sources, against all international standards of press freedom.

The NAFCC calls on the tunisian security forces to respect the work of journalists in accordance with the commitements taken by tunisian authorities themselves.