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Tunisia government denies squeezing media

There is no single party within the government that controls or censors what the media publish, Tunisia's Islamist government responds to accusations concerning such issue

AFP , Friday 6 Jul 2012
Archive photo of the Tunisian revolution against ousted President Zine Al-Abedine ben Ali in 2011. (Photo: Reuters)
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Tunisia's Islamist-dominated government denied on Friday charges by the independent media authority, which shut down in protest this week, that it has been censoring the press.

"There is not a single party within the government that controls or censors what the media publish," political adviser to the premier Lotfi Zitoun told reporters, accusing the media of attacking the government "by playing the role of the opposition."

On Wednesday, the independent authority charged with reforming the media announced it had shut down after failing to achieve its objective, accusing the Islamist-dominated government of censorship.

"The body does not see the point in continuing its work and announces that it has terminated its work," said Kamel Labidi, who heads the National Body for the Reform of Information and Communication (INRIC).

"The body warns of the gravity of the situation in the realm of information and accuses the government of reverting to forms of censorship and disinformation," Labidi said.

"Since this government came to power, we have noticed the absence of concrete measures to reform the (media) sector," he added.

Zitoun said INRIC's work had ended in April with the publication of a report in which it had called for remedying the "systematic destruction of the media."

INRIC was created after the revolution that overthrew president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January last year to reform the media sector, and particularly state media organs, to guarantee Tunisia's previously restricted press freedom.

INRIC and several human rights organisations have repeatedly criticised the government for lacking the will to take steps to guarantee the independence of the media.

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