Good governance and rule of law

The Tunisian Minister of Justice, Leila Jaffel, has filed a complaint with the Tunis Court of First Instance against the news website Business News for "defamation", "false allegations against a public official and contempt against the head of government".

The complaint, filed under Presidential Decree number 54 of 2022, follows an article by Business News entitled "NajlaBouden, the nice woman". The head of government "in office at the Kasbah since October 11, 2021... has achieved nothing in thirteen months of exercise" during which the socio-economic situation has deteriorated with a government that "has continued to be a barrier to economic growth," the article said.

On Monday, the director of the site, Nizar Bahlou, was summoned and questioned by the anti-crime squad in Tunis, he told AFP. The questions concerned the content of the article and the terms used, Bahloul said, adding that he did not know whether the case had been closed or not.

Presidential Decree 54 provides for five years' imprisonment and a heavy fine for anyone "who deliberately uses communication networks and information systems to produce, promote, publish, or send false information or misleading rumours". The penalty is "doubled" if the "false information" is aimed at state officials, according to the decree.