Mehdi Jelassi: We want to pressure the confiscated media into bankruptcy to sell them!
” There was a political will to push Shems FM into bankruptcy to sell it and sell it off declared on Monday, November 7, 2022, the president of the SNJT (National Union of Tunisian Journalists), Mehdi Jelassi, at the microphone of Zina Zidi.
” Shems FM has always been among the most listened to radio stations and yet none of the managers who have been appointed to head it have made any effort to attract advertisers, it is an aberration. Successive governments have all manipulated the media, tried to weaken it into submission, but there has been resistance and it needs to be strengthened. ” he added.
Mehdi Jelassi called on the Minister of Social Affairs, Malek Zahi, to accept his responsibility and avoid a human catastrophe that would end up befalling the confiscated journalists and media personnel, i.e. 700 families, by starting their restructuring without delay.
” There has always been a dialogue between the unions and the government, but this time almost all the unions issued strike notices and the government was absent, completely absent. This is not normal and undermines the country’s credibility. This was premeditated! I call on the President of the Republic to intervene to solve these problems, because we are talking about 700 families and if people are forced into forced unemployment, which no one comes to tell us that we are climbing, we are talking about social drama and if nothing is done, the entire responsibility will be assigned to those in power he concluded.
On 14 October 2022, SNJT sent a letter to the President of the Republic, Kaïs Saïed, urging him to intervene to suspend the legal settlement between Shems FM and Dar Assabah.
The union called on the head of state to immediately intervene to suspend the judicial resolution of the cases of Shems FM and Dar Assabah, which he says is hasty and reveals a weakness in handling a crisis that has been “made”. ” We had proposed alternative solutions that could save our country from an unprecedented social crisis. We encourage you to start a serious dialogue on all issues in the media sector, led by the government presidency together with stakeholders and the Ministry of Social Affairs clarified SNJT.
He stressed that all the parties concerned must work together to achieve a successful dialogue aimed at avoiding the country’s most serious social crisis for the media sector, which will lead to the closure of seven institutions for the first time.
It should be recalled that the National Commission for the Management of Assets and Property Subject to Confiscation or Recovery in favor of the State has decided to subject “Dar Assabah” and Radio Shems Fm to a judicial settlement. The decision was sent to the Presidency of the Government for validation. Neither the Presidency of the Republic, the Presidency of the Government nor the Ministry of Finance responded to SNJT’s requests for meetings.
In a statement given to Shems Fm on October 5, 2022, Amira Mohamed, vice president of the union, indicated that the SNJT requested an urgent meeting with the President of the Republic Kaïs Saïed and the Head of Government Najla Bouden. The General Secretary of the General Federation of Media, Mohamed Saïdi, confirmed at the microphone of the same media that the trade unionists were ready for the confrontation and that this could mean boycotting the parliamentary elections.
During a press conference held on the same date at SNJT’s premises, Amira Mohamed believed that the government was shirking its responsibility. According to her, the executive power and Al Karama Holding are responsible for the worsening of the situation of these companies. Al Karama Holding had been responsible for appointing judicial administrators to head them and oversee the management of the institutions. ” The report prepared by the control body of the Ministry of Finance reveals the existence of excesses in connection with the sale of Shems Fm… Why were the authors of these excesses not prosecuted? The head of government who made this decision, Hichem Mechichi, is in Qatar… The legal settlement may include a rescue program, except that the power has decided not to do so and not to allocate funds that allow this… State institutions are putting pressure on Shems Fm, Assabah and La Presse (…) The National Broadcasting Office and the CNSS are the first to do so… There is no political will to preserve the companies, the jobs and the diversity of the landscape… We are trying to silence the media “, she added.
Speaking afterwards, the Secretary General of the General Federation of Media, Mohamed Saïdi, underlined the danger of the situation. He deplored the attitude of the Minister of Communication Technology, Nizar Ben Néji, saying that the latter blocked the establishment of a platform dedicated to advertising and able to guarantee significant income for the media. He argued that the power in place had adopted a policy that seeks to undermine the media and stop diversity within this sector. He believed that the public establishments canceled the subscriptions voluntarily and without reason. ” A deviation can be noticed since July 25… There are solutions… We ask to be listened to… There are more than 600 people concerned… We want to preserve jobs “, he said.