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Tunisian president urged to respect press freedom after 20 journalists allegedly beaten by police

REPORTERS Without Borders (RSF) has called on Tunisia’s President Kais Saied to ensure that the press can operate freely in the country after around 20 journalists were attacked in the capital last week.

Correspondents from three French media outlets, Liberation, Jeune Afrique and Radio France Internationale, were reportedly badly beaten by Tunis police, who also sprayed gas in their faces at close range.

“Nothing like this has been seen in the capital since President Ben Ali’s ouster in 2011,” RSF said today.

The organisation said that the latest political developments are threatening press freedom, which it described as “the Tunisian revolution’s leading initial achievement.”

Rhida Bouziane, 57, died of injuries sustained during “excessive violence” by police as they cracked down on a protest marking the 11th anniversary of the events that triggered the so-called Arab Spring uprisings.

The Ennahda party called Mr Bouziane’s death “a murder” and claimed that authorities had prevented his family from knowing that he had been in intensive care for five days.

Mr Saied seized power last July in what Ennahda described as “a coup against the constitution.”

RSF called on the president “to respect Tunisia’s constitutional guarantees and international obligations with regard to press freedom and the freedom to inform.”

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