Tunisian journalists protest after months of rising tensions with the government accused of curbing press freedom, Tunis, October 17, 2012. (Photo by FETHI BELAID/AFP via Getty Images)
Legal Support & Advocacy

Press Freedom in Tunisia: UPR Advocacy Fact Sheet

Ahead of Tunisia’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR), the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy (TIMEP), the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), and the National Syndicate of Tunisian Journalists (SNJT) have issued a UPR Advocacy Fact Sheet that complements the alternative civil society report that the three organizations published in May 2022 per the UPR process.

The UPR is a mechanism of the United Nations created to examine the human rights performances of all UN member states; Tunisia’s UPR is set to take place in November 2022.

Much like the alternative civil society report, the advocacy fact sheet traces the significant deterioration of press freedom in Tunisia, particularly since President Kais Saied’s July 25, 2021 announcement declaring that he would freeze the parliament, dismiss the prime minister, suspend much of the constitution, and rule by temporary decree. The fact sheet documents:

  • The use of vaguely-worded legislation to target non-violent forms of dissent, including the writings and posts of journalists, bloggers, and social media users;
  • The rise in physical attacks involving journalists, including those covering protests and demonstrations; and 
  • A spike in the number of arbitrary detentions, judicial harassment, and prosecutions of journalists and media figures by Tunisian authorities, on vague charges.

In an effort to comprehensively address the deterioration of press freedom in Tunisia, this fact sheet proposes recommendations relevant to both the country’s legal framework and its violative practices.