Media News - Friday, August 31, 2012
The owner of a private television channel was jailed in Tunisia on Thursday pending trial for corruption, an official said, in a case he has described as an attempt to stifle the media. Sami Fehri, who launched the channel in partnership with Belhassen Trabelsi, the son-in-law of former President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, handed himself over to the authorities after an arrest warrant was issued a few days ago. In an Internet video broadcast shortly before, he said the government was punishing for him for a comedy programme on his channel that mocks symbols of power - thereby muffling the media and giving up gains made when Ben Ali was ousted last year. "Tounissia tv" broadcast a satirical programme called "Political Logic" which made fun of Tunisia's President Moncef Marzouki, Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali and Rached Ghannouchi, leader of the ruling Islamic Ennahda party. A Justice Ministry official told Reuters an arrest warrant had been issued on charges of corruption. The government has faced criticism for seeking to control the media. Press freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) criticised Fehri's detention, saying in a statement that defects in procedures had accelerated the issue of his arrest warrant. It called for a fair trial without government interference. (Reuters)
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