Najla Bouden lets Business News translate before Kriminelle

On the basis of Decree 54: Najla Bouden gets Business News brought in for Criminals

Violation of the law, attack on freedom of the press, destabilization of the President of the Republic on the eve of the Francophonie summit. We don’t really know how to qualify the official complaint that Justice Minister Leïla Jaffel has filed against Business News on behalf of Prime Minister Najla Bouden.

Facts. On Thursday, November 10, 2022, Business News publishes an analytical article titled “Najla Bouden, a lovely woman”. As our readers can confirm, the article is factual and offers an analytical reading of Tunisia’s socio-political-economic situation and government leadership.

On Friday, November 11, Leïla Jaffel filed a complaint with the Public Prosecutor’s Office at the Tunis Court of First Instance, accusing Business News of “ defamation, publication of false information, false accusations against a public official and insults against the head of government “. It appears from the complaint that the article has ” consequences that affect the security of the country and seek to reach the institutions of the state “.

For all this, Ms. Jaffel calls on the public prosecutor to initiate the necessary criminal proceedings against the author of the article and the person responsible for the “page of the social network Business News” in accordance with the provisions of Decree 54 of September 13, 2022 regarding crimes related to information – and communication systems.

On Monday, November 14, around 2 p.m., two police officers appeared at the Business News headquarters with a summons in the name of the journalist Raouf Ben Hédi and on the 1eh responsible for the newspaper being published on the same day for the crime brigade.

Accompanied by his lawyer Me Zeineb Askri (from the Fethi El Mouldi firm), the director of Business News Nizar Bahloul points in front of the brigade to discover that it is the Minister of Justice personally who filed the complaint, and this for an article of more ordinary.

The investigation proceeds without incident, being limited to facts only. Criminal officers displayed exemplary professionalism.

More than an hour after the interrogation, the criminal agent informed Mr. Bahloul that he needed to consult with the prosecutor’s office to find out if he should be released or if there was a warrant against him.

The answer comes about an hour later with the release decision. However, the representative of the prosecution sends us a message indicating his full respect for the freedom of the press and the freedom of journalists.

In this case, there are several questions. In terms of form, there are two obvious form errors. The first is that the complaint is filed by Ms. Jaffel regarding a hypothetical prejudice affecting Ms. Bouden. However, the complaint must be personal and it is up to the head of government to submit it. The second formal deficiency is that the complaint is filed on the basis of Decree 54. However, it is a journalistic article written by a journalist, holder of the official press card. Since there is a specific code for the press (decree 115), the Minister of Justice cannot mention generalist decree 54. It is a rule of law, you cannot talk about a general law when there is a specific law.

Legally, the complaint alleges defamation, insults and false claims, but fails to specify which sentences in the article support those statements. She talks about consequences for the country’s security, without saying which ones. It is neither for the criminal agent, the prosecution nor the judge to look for these words and these sentences, it is for the plaintiff to point them out.

If the Head of Government and her Minister seek to intimidate and silence Business News, let them be disillusioned, we will not let it go. The right to information and freedom of the press is sacred to us and our readers.

Business News will continue its work and mission to inform its readers. Any other business is suicidal. See you in the next episode.

Click here to read the article in Leïla Jaffel’s complaint

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