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Tunisian media in transition

El Issawi, Fatima (2012) Tunisian media in transition. The Carnegie Papers. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and POLIS, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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Abstract

The media in Tunisia has undergone drastic changes since the country’s 2011 revolution. From content that was once uniform and restricted in the extreme, Tunisian media outlets have moved away from echoing the state line and are now providing diverse output. A host of new media outlets have cropped up. The legal framework and state institutions governing the industry are undergoing reform. And most importantly, journalists are now able to experience political journalism firsthand. But though the groundwork is largely in place for a free and unbiased media landscape, journalists continue to operate without appropriate resources and training, and under questionable professional standards—dubious editorial qualities that are reflected in tabloid-style publications. As a reporter from Réalités magazine aptly described, after the fall of President Ben Ali, “we could finally say all we wanted, we could interview any political figure we wanted, we could even slam any of them. We were free.” Those journalists, so long prohibited from fully practicing their trade, remain unable to translate this acquired freedom into professional media practices. The Tunisian media is still a venue for manipulation, intimidation, and bias. Media outlets are becoming the main stage for the fierce political and ideological battle between the country’s opposing camps: conservative Islamists and secular elitists. Ennahda, the Islamist winner of the first free elections in the history of this deeply secular country, gradually awakened to the ongoing influence of the national media and turned to old regime tactics. The Islamist party and its supporters are raising their voices against what they view as the “leftist lobbies” that are turning the media into a weapon against government policies. The true liberalization of the media sector will be impossible without the training that instills professional standards in the industry and helps members of the Tunisian media overcome entrenched habits. Guaranteeing journalists a degree of job security must also be a priority. As long as working conditions remain a concern and journalists are unable to secure decent contracts with reasonable stability and salaries, the quality of content will not be a priority.

Item Type: Monograph (Report)
Official URL: http://carnegieendowment.org/
Additional Information: © 2012 Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Divisions: Media and Communications
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
J Political Science > JQ Political institutions Asia
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1990 Broadcasting
Sets: Departments > Media and Communications
Research centres and groups > POLIS
Date Deposited: 20 Oct 2014 08:49
Last Modified: 30 Jan 2019 23:12
Funders: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/59880

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