Tunisian President Publicly Blasts Ennahda
Tunisia’s interim President Moncef Marzouki took aim at the ruling Ennahda party in a speech given at the annual convention of his party, Congress for the Republic or CPR. The remarks, delivered by another party member but written by the president, criticized Ennahda for, in his view, being slow to implement reforms, for practices reminiscent of the Ben Ali era, are for stirring up needless controversy in issues like women’s equality. “Controversial statements such as ‘women complement men’ must be rejected. Men and women are totally equal,” Marzouki affirmed. Marzouki’s speech prompted several Ennahda members present at the CPR convention to walk out, and have since sparked considerable debate online.
Meanwhile, Tunisian authorities have arrested Sami Fehri, the owner of the Ettounsiya TV channel, on financial corruption charges just days after Fehri had a satirical show pulled from his network. Fehri has been charged with using funds from his former employer, state TV station Wataniya, to create his own production company, but Fehri contends this is just the latest effort to silence critics in the country. ”I will go to prison with dignity,” he said. Authorities had pulled a satirical puppet show from Fehri’s network last week, which many suspected was due to its content critical of the government. Le Monde reports, however, that the issue may not be one of censorship after all, as the show’s cancelation involves private contract disputes which were settled in Fehri’s favor on Friday and will allow for the show to continue.