Supporters of the Tunisian ruling party Ennahda assaulted Al Arabiya television’s crew in Tunis on Saturday, while the crew was covering a march organized by the movement opposing “the military coup against democracy in Egypt.”
The attackers beat up the cameraman, verbally assaulted the rest of the crew and prevented them from operating.
Balqassem al-Qorawi, an employee, told Al Arabiya that he was with two other colleagues when a group of Ennahda youths attacked him and asked him to leave. He added that those who assaulted him also shouted slogans against Al Arabiya.
In an interview with Al Arabiya, Najiba al-Hamrouni, head of the National Syndicate of Tunisian Journalists, condemned the attack against the station’s crew.
“The syndicate’s stance in principle rejects attacking journalists and calls for implementing article 14 of decree 115 which criminalizes anyone who insults or attacks a journalist,” said Hamrouni.
“The government until now rejects to implement the law, [so] the perpetrator remains at large and is thus not held accountable. This confirms the cabinet’s silence and collusion and thus its desire to subject the media, intimidate journalists and prevent them from carrying out their job,” she added.
Ennahda was repressed under former President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali’s regime but emerged as a powerful political force after his overthrow in January 2011, with its veteran leader Rached Ghannouchi returning from 20 years in exile to a hero’s welcome.
The party won the first post-revolution polls in October 2011, taking 41% of the seats in Tunisia’s National Constituent Assembly, and acquiring the foreign, interior and justice ministries in the coalition government.