Tunisia closes Nabil Karoui’s TV and radio channels that criticize the president

Tunisia’s independent media regulatory authority, HAICA, said it had shut down a television station owned by the leader of the Cœur de Tunisie party, Nabil Karoui, and a religious radio station, saying both operated with a Licence.

Tunisia’s independent media regulatory authority, HAICA, said on Wednesday it had shut down a television channel, Nesma TV, owned by the leader of the Heart of Tunisia party, Nabil Karoui, and a religious radio station, saying both operated with a license.

The stations criticized President Kais Saied, who seized executive power in July in a move his opponents describe as a coup. The HAICA had also closed earlier this month Zaytouna, who was also unlicensed and critical of Saied.

the Nesma television station and Quran Kareem religious radio stations have been operating for years without a licence, which annoys media watchdogs who see them as illicit tools of political influence.

Since Saied took power in July, some critics see any action against media that opposes him as an attempt to undermine press freedom and rights in Tunisia, which has been a democracy since the revolution in 2011.

Saied has since enjoyed widespread support in Tunisia, where years of poor governance, corruption, political paralysis and economic stagnation have been compounded by a deadly rise in Covid-19 cases.

HAICA was fined Nesma for broadcasts, he said he exploited the poor and promoted the political agenda of the channel’s owner, businessman Nabil Karoui, a former presidential candidate and opponent of the president.

HAICA said both were shut down for broadcasting without a license.

Nesma and Quran Kareem officials were not immediately available for comment.

“Nesma is owned by a leader of the Heart of Tunisia party, which was reflected in its content, which violated the principles of freedom of audiovisual communication,” the regulator said.

He added: “Quran radio was promoting hate speech to incite violence and hatred.”

The Quran station is owned by Said Jaziri, a member of parliament, who was suspended by the president in July.

(Reuters)

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