February 26, 2011 / 3:17 PM / 8 years ago

Tunisia state TV reporters strike over censorship

* State TV news bulletins stop

* Strikers say protesting ongoing censorship

* Reflects frustrations over interim government

By Tarek Amara

TUNIS, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Hundreds of journalists and technicians from Tunisia’s state-run television broadcaster have gone on strike over what they said was continued government censorship of their dispatches.

The strike reflects growing public frustration in North Africa’s most developed state over the sluggish pace of change since an uprising toppled President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali last month.

“We are on strike demanding an end to all the pressure and to stop the censorship, and to allow us to work freely ... We will not accept restrictions anymore,” one of the striking journalists told Reuters, asking not to be named.

“The strike will not stop until those responsible go and we can work freely and independently,” another said.

Tunisia’s First National Television channel remained on air on Saturday, but without news dispatches after the workers went on strike from late on Friday.

Tunisia’s revolution inspired a similar revolt in Egypt and sparked riots elsewhere across the Arab world, including Libya.

But the interim government charged with setting elections to replace Ben Ali has been the target of growing protests for what critics say are its close ties to the former regime and its failure to follow through on reform promises.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators filled central Tunis on Friday calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi, who served in the same post for a decade during Ben Ali’s presidency.

The Interior Ministry on Saturday said 21 people were injured in the rally, during which police fired shots in the air and protesters burned tires and threw rocks.

First National’s striking workers are demanding new managers, they said.

Editing by Richard Valdmanis

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