Plainclothes police surrounded the offices of a newly launched satellite radio station and detained one of its journalists. Police are continuing their siege of the station.
The journalist, Dhafer Otay of Radio Kalima, said he was held for four hours and then released without charge. Officers prevented him and his colleagues from entering the Tunis offices of their independent satellite radio station, Radio Kalima
. The station was started by the same team in charge of the locally blocked online magazine Kalima .
The Tunisian government should lift its siege of Radio Kalima immediately, said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ's Middle East and North Africa program coordinator: Public relations campaigns aimed at presenting the Tunisian government as
tolerant cannot conceal the country's status as one of the Arab world's top enemies of independent journalism.
Ever since Radio Kalima staffers launched their new station on January 26, Tunisian plainclothes police have done everything they can to suppress the newly launched satellite radio station: besieging the offices for several days, threatening a
managing editor with a knife, and finally breaking into the building and confiscating the equipment.
The radio station was launched by the same team in charge of the online magazine Kalima, which is blocked within the country, and housed in the same building.
On January 30, after days of surrounding the offices, police confiscated equipment such as computers, phones, recorders, and flash discs, according to the Observatory of Press, Publishing, and Creative Freedom in Tunisia.
A who judge was present when police took over the building subsequently launched an investigation against Sihem Bensedrine, editor-in-chief of Kalima, for using a broadcasting frequency without obtaining a legal license, Lotfi Hidouri, a
Kalima contributor, told CPJ. The station broadcasts over the Internet, and via satellite from Italy, whose government has granted permission to use the frequency. Tunisian laws don't address Internet streaming, both staffers said.
Radio Kalima is currently broadcasting from a temporary location,