RSF calls for enforcement of Constitution to protect freedom of press

Tunis: The Reporters Without Borders (RSF) organisation on Friday called for the release of Tunisian journalists Mohamed Boughaleb and Chdha Ben Mbarek. The Tunisian Constitution guarantees the protection of journalists and should be invoked to put an end to the arrests that threaten freedom of the press in Tunisia, RSF North Africa Representative Khaled Drareni told TAP on the sidelines of a press conference held in Tunis to present the 2024 World Press Freedom Index. Tunisia has moved up 3 spots to 118th in this year's index, against 121st in 2023, "however, this does not mean that the situation is improving," he pointed out. Tunisia had slipped 24 spots in 2023, he recalled, considering that "the situation is still worrying." "Tunisia used to be a country of hope, but today journalists no longer feel protected due to Decree-Law No54 of September 13, 2022 on combating offences related to information and communication systems," the official indicated. The RSF had denounced the drawing up and adoption of this law which "institutionalise" the prosecution of journalists, Drareni further said. At the international level, this year is notable for a clear lack of political will on the part of the international community to enforce the principles of protection of journalists, especially UN Security Council Resolution 2222, the RSF said. "The war in Gaza has been marked by a record number of violations against journalists and the media since October 2023. More than 100 Palestinian reporters have been killed by the Israel Defence Forces, including at least 22 in the course of their work. Occupied and under constant Israeli bombardment, Palestine is ranked 157th out of 180 countries and territories surveyed in the overall 2024 World Press Freedom Index, but it is ranked among the last 10 with regard to security for journalists Drareni recalled that the RSF had filed two complaints with the International Criminal Court (ICC)- the first on October 31 and the second on December 22 - calling on the prosecutor to inves tigate all Palestinian journalists killed by the Israeli army. According to the World Press Freedom Index, Norway, is still in the lead. Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse