Tunisian Opposition TV Station Forced to Shut Down

Tunisia’s independent media regulator HAICA ordered the closure of and al-Quran al-Kareem radio station Nessma TV channel, owned by the president’s political rival Nabil Karoui.

The media authority announced that it seized the channels’ broadcasting equipment on Oct. 27, saying that they were broadcasting without a license.

“Despite multiple letters and meetings, the channel continued its activities illegally,” HAICA said.

The regulator added that the closure was due to suspected “administrative corruption” and that the channels’ ownerships by political figures “influenced the content of its programs” — the same reasons HAICA first seized Nessma’s equipment in 2019.

Al-Quran al-Kareem is owned by Said Jaziri, a parliament member from the Errahma party.

Nessma’s Karoui is the leader of the Heart of Tunisia party. He lost the presidential race in 2019 to Kais Saied and was arrested the same year for money laundering and tax evasion.

In July this year, Saied gave himself broad powers after sacking the prime minister and suspending parliament in what critics called his “coup”.

Critics have cried censorship after the announcement, with the Committee to Protect Journalists saying that Tunisian authorities are using licensing laws “as a means to control what gets said on television and radio.”

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