Tunisia’s broadcasting watchdog on Wednesday ordered the suspension for three months of a popular television show after its host suggested a young rape victim marry her attacker.
The High Independent Authority of the Audio-visual Commission said that Friday’s show “I have something to tell you” broadcast by the private channel El Hiwar Ettounsi failed to respect the girl’s dignity.
“She was a victim of sexual aggression by three relatives from the time she was 14 and she was pregnant… at the time of the broadcast,” the authority said in a statement.
The host, Alaa Chebbi, “cast doubt over the rape” and “held the child responsible for what happened,” the statement said, adding that the girl had been presented on air as being 18 when she was in fact 17.
The watchdog said Chebbi suggested that the girl “marry her rapist… which constitutes incitement to impunity” and denounced the negative psychological impact it would have on her.
The programme sparked an outcry in Tunisia and calls for viewers to boycott it were posted on social networks.
News website Nawaat denounced Chebbi, describing him as a “a symbol of a delinquent” TV host and said he was “flouting… the universal principles of human rights”.