Nessma trial, Tunisian press freedom and France24

Posted: May 3, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

A Tunisian court today handed down a handful of fines to a Tunisian TV station which had the temerity to broadcast the Franco-Iranian animated film Persepolis, and thus offend public sentiments due to its depiction of God in one admittedly brief scene.

Something of a test-case in Tunisia, the trial of the Nessma TV chief Nabil Karoui and his colleagues has been criticised by secular Tunisians and press freedom organisations, keen to see a fearless media flower in the post-revolution environment. As it happens, no one is really happy with today’s result of a fine instead of jail time; the prosecutors and conservative protesters outside the courthouse today wanted time served, and organisations such as Reporters Sans Frontieres say there should be no fine at all. As it stands, the prosecution looks set to appeal the decision not to award a taxpayer-funded holiday in the lock-up.

Balcony beep beep-BGAN, Sony Z1 and iPad autocue: France24’s David Thomson does his stand-up after my Anglophone take.

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I reported on the happenings in front of the court and the reaction in Tunisia for France24 English, via a series of live crosses and phone interviews. Which is quite fitting, as in Tunisia everyone thinks that as a white journalist, you’re naturally working for France24 anyway. Thankfully, no Salafists turned up to the hearing to clobber me over the head for my (perceived) role in extending the hand of soft French power, as I was half expecting.

It’s an interesting operation, with both English and French BGAN’d from the balcony of Francophone correspondent David Thomson. Voila.

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