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'Official pressure' takes ex-Tunisian president's interview off air

Moncef Marzouki has been a vocal critic of the current government [Anadolu]

Date of publication: 16 September, 2016

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Moncef Marzouki, Tunisia's former president on Thursday accused authorities of pressuring a local TV station to take an interview conducted with him off air.

Tunisia’s former president Moncef Marzouki on Thursday accused his country’s authorities of pressuring a local TV channel to stop the broadcast of an interview with him.

Marzouki said in a statement that officials had pressured local Attessia TV to halt the broadcast of the interview but did not provide details.

A spokesman for the former president said officials had threatened to cut public advertising to the TV channel if the interview was not shelved.

Attessia’s chief executive Moez Ben Gharbia also said the channel was pressured by officials.

"Officials in the presidency and the government exercised pressure on the TV channel not to air the interview with Marzouki," Ben Gharbia said in statement.

The Tunisian journalist union condemned what it said was government pressure tactics.

However, the presidency denied the accusations and demanded proof of the claim made against it.

"We defy any journalist or producer of Attessia TV or journalist union to prove that the presidency pressed to prevent the interview," said Noureddine Ben Ticha, a senior political adviser to Essebsi.

Since its 2011 revolution ousted Ben Ali, Tunisia has been praised as a model of democratic transition in a region troubled by violence and rights violations.

One of the Arab world's most secular nations, it now has free elections and a modern constitution.

But rights groups say some of the practices and abuses of the past still linger, such as police torture and state corruption.

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