Tunisia TV Threatens Football Blackout after Violence


Tunisia's public TV channel Wataniya threatened on Monday to stop broadcasting football matches after two of its journalists were wounded during weekend unrest.

Fans of top club Etoile Sahel on Sunday attacked the press booth of Wataniya -- which holds exclusive rights to broadcast Tunisian championship matches --

Angry fans threw stones and other projectiles, lightly injuring two journalists and damaging the booth, after their team's 1-0 defeat by Club Africain.

The violence was sparked by a contested penalty in the second half, Wataniya spokesman Elyes Jarraya told AFP.

Wataniya denounced what it called the latest in a series of "frequent attacks against its staff and equipment" and called for security measures to protect journalists.

Otherwise, it warned, the channel "will be forced to stop covering matches that do not foresee the requisite protection".

Tunisia's journalists' union also strongly condemned the violence and called on the Tunisian Football Federation to take the necessary measures "to ensure the protection of journalists".

Football in Tunisia is regularly plagued by violence, especially when the country's top clubs clash.

Football violence has escalated so much in recent years that sports minister Majdouline Cherni has described it as "stadium terrorism".

In February, a riot sparked by a contested penalty and a flurry of red cards left 38 police officers injured at a league match between Etoile Sahel and bitter rival Esperance.