Hunger strike planned at Tunisia newspaper

Sept. 30, 2012 at 12:53 PM
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TUNIS, Tunisia, Sept. 30 (UPI) -- A dozen Tunisian journalists vowed to go on a hunger strike Oct. 1 to protest the government's appointment of a new manager of their newspaper.

The protesters from the state-run Dar Assabah newspaper called the appointment of Lofti Touati as the paper's general director "government interference in media."

"Touati is unqualified, and he wants to interfere in the editorial line of the newspaper," striker Monia Arfaoui told Tunisia Live. "Right after his nomination, he suspended the editor-in-chief of the newspaper."

"This is a fight for freedom of expression and the independence of the media sector in Tunisia," Arfaoui said. "The problem has become political now."

A lawyer for the Dar Assabah management said the government was within its right to appoint Touati. Leaders of the National Union of Tunisian Journalists, however, said the newspaper staff and union representatives should have been consulted first.

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