Tunisia – Police invade journalists’ club and ban alcoholic beverages
A group of law enforcement officers, mostly in civilian clothes, burst into the air, around 3 p.m. on Monday, April 1, 2013, at the Journalists Club in downtown Tunis (Maison du Journaliste), to confiscate alcoholic beverages, according to the testimony of several journalists present on the spot including our colleague Walid Ahmed Ferchichi.
The security forces were in the process of implementing a decision by the Governor of Tunis, they were told, which stipulated that alcoholic drinks should not be sold in a cultural place and that special authorization was required.
“This is an attack that directly targets journalists and intellectuals in the country and which aims to limit their rights, in particular to drink what they want when they want it at home,” said Mr. Ferchichi .
The Maison du Journaliste (known as the journalists’ club) has been selling alcoholic beverages for decades, with a license, and has never been worried by the authorities.
As it turns out, access has been limited for some time to journalists with press cards and their friends. There was a time, in fact, when the club was a little too infiltrated by the police who came to spy on journalists and then write targeted reports.
Like many other professional clubs (such as lawyers or officers), journalists have been there for a drink to exchange ideas and information for decades. The governor does not seem to want to let press freedom take flight. One more step from Sharia.