International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists commemorated in Tunisia

As a part of the worldwide commemorations of the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists (IDEI), the workshop “Safety of journalists: practices and legislation in the transitional context”, was organized in Tunisia, on 2 November 2015. Its aim was to assess the situation of safety of journalists in Tunisia and discussing the legislative framework and legal practices of administrative and judicial investigations into attacks and crimes committed against journalists in the country.

The symposium was attended by more than 80 people, among them human rights activists, lawyers, representatives of media institutions and civil society, journalists and other organizations engaged in the promotion and protection of freedom of expression.

Mr David Kaye, Special Rapporteur of the United Nations on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, had sent a video message to the participants, which was shown during the symposium. Mr Kaye declared: “The importance of Tunisia and your experience cannot be understated. What you are doing and what you are advocating for and the nature of your reporting is critical, both because it is hopeful as a country in transition, it is critical because the country itself is facing grave threats from groups that want the transition not to succeed and, third, because Tunisia is presenting an alternative path to other in the region.”

Next to wide-ranging discussions, the day provided the occasion to present the awareness campaign on safety of journalists and end of impunity, organized by the National Union of Tunisian Journalists in partnership with Office of the High Commission for Human Rights and UNESCO. This campaign covers five provinces and targets journalists, human rights activists and civil society organizations. The campaign also provides a forum for discussion on the legislative framework and practices of safety of journalists in Tunisia. This campaign, linked to the IDEI, started on 26 October in Tunis and ended on 5 November. A video showing the first three workshops was screened during the opening session of the workshop.

This event was organized in the framework of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the issue to end impunity, which calls upon stakeholders to promote a safe and enabling environment for journalists to perform their work independently and without undue interference.

The Day was organized by the National Union of Tunisian Journalists, the Civil Coalition for the Defense of Freedom of Expression, the Tunis Centre for Freedom of the Press, the Vigilance for Democracy and civic State association, and the Tunisian Human Rights League, in cooperation with Article 19 and Reporters without Borders. It was supported by of the Office of the High Commission for Human Rights and UNESCO.