Sharing an article she wrote on the development in Tunisia amid the political crisis the country is going through, New York Times' MENA-based journalist slammed the Tunisian President Kais Saied, saying she and other journalists faced detentions, before being asked by his staff for a meeting at the Presidential Palace.
I came to report on the potential collapse of Tunisia’s democracy and was briefly detained. Then I got a lecture on the U.S. Constitution from the president of Tunisia, who vowed to preserve press freedoms but didn’t allow me to ask a single question https://t.co/eMplkEAwSi— Vivian Yee (@VivianHYee) August 1, 2021
Five days after the Tunisian president decided to sack the country's Prime Minister and parliament, NYT's Cairo bureau chief Vivian Yee flew to Tunis to report on the country's political scene, including fears that Kais Saied, the president whose latest decisions have been dubbed as "controversial," might be "seizing power."
In her tweet, Yee said she was reporting on the "potential collapse of Tunisia’s democracy" and protested not being allowed to ask Saied any questions, despite him stressing his intent to preserve freedom of the press with her. The New York Times journalist also mentioned that she and her colleagues, mostly foreign journalists, were "lectured" on the US constitution by the law professor-turned President.
This is not press interview, but an apology meeting! And before you met with the president, didn't they tell you about details and the reason for this meeting? You should have quit and refused it, you didn't respect our law and made this whole story for what ? https://t.co/xoKPh6vg89— ً (@yuoize) August 2, 2021
Potential... Collapse... Of dinwaldik 🙏— che karim (@che_kariim) August 1, 2021
A so called journalist who never sad a single word about journalist persecution #JulianAssange by US regime, is fabricating an arrestation (a 2 hours security check routine) and now trying to lecture us about freedom❓ https://t.co/BgX2tqpsTu
Yee details the unexpected sense of relief she witnessed amongst most Tunisians she talked with in the wake of the President's decisions, as some citizens told her "what has democracy done to us?"
The journalist also describes her experience as police officers detained her and her team for a couple of hours before they asked her to "stop reporting in the neighborhood."
Dear Vivian , I think the detain part was for security purposes, you know how sensitive things are now in Tunisia.— Raouefi (@Raouefi2Raouefi) August 1, 2021
For the lecture, well he is a jurist and a lecturer, I think he was spontaneous when he did that. For the questions, it wasn't a press conference or an interview.
Explaining that Kais Saied is aware of accusations that he might be Tunisia's post-Arab Spring dictator, Vivian Yee's tweet stirred many online reactions, as many pro-Saied commentators rushed to justify and defend his position, saying that the journalist "misunderstood" the invitation to the meeting with the president for a Q/A interview.
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