General strike in press sector cancelled after signing of framework agreement between government and SNJT [Upd 1]
09/01/2019 17:55, TUNIS/Tunisia

(TAP) - The National Union of Tunisian Journalists (SNJT), on Wednesday, announced the cancellation of the general strike in the press sector originally scheduled for January 14, 2019.

The decision comes after the signing of a framework agreement and an agreement on the housing project for journalists between SNJT President Neji Bghouri and Social Affairs Minister Mohamed Trabelsi.

The 36-article framework agreement was also signed by president of the Federation of Newspaper Directors Taïeb Zahar, president of the union chamber of private television channels Lassad Khedr, president of the national union chamber of private radio stations, Kamel Rabbana, CEO of the Tunisian Television Corporation (ETT) Mohamed Lassad Daheche, CEO of the Tunisian Radio Corporation Abderrazak Tabib, CEO of Tunis-Afrique-Presse news agency Rachid Khechana, as well as President of the Independent High Authority for Audiovisual Communication (HAICA) Nouri Lajmi.

The agreement organises the information sector, defines recruitment criteria in the sector and sets the salary cap.

It also defines the material and moral rights of journalists, sets the various forms of contracts envisaged with the media institutions and organises the journalistic work.

This agreement also defines the disciplinary measures and sets the guarantees to be brought to the freedom of conscience and ethics of the profession.

Under this agreement, all media institutions pledge to respect the right to organise, to avoid any pressure that may compromise the freedom of journalists and to define the modalities of trade union action in media institutions.

"This agreement is a historic event in the media sector,” president of the National Union of Tunisian Journalists Néji Bghouri said at a press conference after the signing of the agreements.

"This agreement breaks with the poverty and marginalisation experienced by many journalists," he said.

Bghouri said the union will focus in the coming period on the project to establish a Press Council and on the idea of ​​creating a polling center to put an end to any form of manipulation in the sector.

President of the Independent High Authority for Audiovisual Communication (HAICA), Nouri Lajmi, who was present at the signing ceremony, said this agreement will bar the way to some media institutions that do not respect the ethics of the profession, particularly those operating in the audiovisual sector.

The Minister of Social Affairs reaffirmed the State's commitment to create a favorable climate for press freedom and to guarantee journalists’ social rights, in order to enable them to perform their mission fully.

He also stressed the need to preserve the freedom of the press and to establish the legal framework governing the sector.

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