We were not expecting such a dramatic turnout. The 1,000 parsley bundles that we brought out were all sold by the end of the morning, so we had to get more. We were all sold out by the end of the afternoon. Both regular citizens and public figures came out to support us. This swelling of solidarity is very touching. It shows that citizens are aware of the need for a diverse media landscape.
We are facing financial difficulties due to a decrease in ad revenue. Since last November, several companies that regularly advertised on our station told us they were under pressure by the Ennahda party to stop advertising with us — which they did.
This pressure is also visible on Facebook. We have been the subject of several negative online campaigns, and saw many insults and calls for boycotts against us by Internet users who support Ennahda.
The government [which is led by Ennahda ] hasn’t been holding back, either. Last Tuesday, one of our journalists was prevented, along with several others, from attending the press conference held by the Interior Ministry regarding the arrest of the alleged murderers of ChokriBelaïd [the opposition member murdered last February 6]. His camera was taken and the contents of his film erased because he had filmed the policemen that had threatened journalists [the union of Tunisian journalists denounced this “attack on freedom of expression”
. Meanwhile, the Interior Ministry has stated in a press release that there were no more seats in the room for additional journalists. The Ministry declined to answer FRANCE 24’s questions regarding the seizure of the cameras].
Customers buying parsley bundles with 20 dinar bills.
This is a sign of the deterioration of media freedom in Tunisia [the country lost 4 points
in 2013 in Reporters without Borders’ annual press freedom index]. And it’s not just in television. Many radio stations are also at risk of closing because they are unable to pay the exorbitant sums now required to broadcast in Tunisia. If it continues, we will end up with a monochromatic media landscape.