TUNIS, Sept 15 Former Tunisian President Moncef
Marzouki on Thursday accused authorities of pressuring a local
TV channel to stop the broadcast of an interview with him,
saying it was a case of state restrictions on media freedom.
Opponents of President Beji Caid Essebsi have accused him
before of trying to concentrate power in his hands, six years
after an uprising ousted autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali.
Marzouki, one of Essebsi's most ardent critics, said in a
statement that officials had pressured local Attessia TV not to
air the interview. He did not give details, but his spokesman
said officials threatened to cut public advertising.
Attessia chief executive Moez Ben Gharbia also said the
channel was pressured by officials, and a local journalist union
condemned what it said was government pressure tactics.
"Officials in the presidency and the government exercised
pressure on the TV channel not to air the interview with
Marzouki," Ben Gharbia said in statement.
The presidency denied the accusations.
"We defy any journalist or producer of Attessia TV or
journalist union to prove that the presidency pressed to prevent
the interview," said Noureddine Ben Ticha, a senior political
adviser to Essebsi.
Since its 2011 revolution ousted Ben Ali, Tunisia has been
praised as a model of democratic transition in a region troubled
by violence and rights violations. One of the Arab world's most
secular nations, it now has free elections and a modern
But rights groups say some of the practices and abuses of
the past still linger, such as police torture and state
(Reporting By Tarek Amara)