Is Tunisia’s Media Freedom in Danger?
The Arab Spring began in Tunisia and it now boasts it has a vibrant democracy and freedom of speech, but is media freedom under threat?
Tunisia has seen huge changes in its media industry in the seven years since its revolution and move to democracy. Before 2011, the country’s TV and radio were tightly controlled by the regime of President Ben Ali, one of the most restrictive in the Arab world. Now the media has opened up to a whole range of new players and there is significant freedom of speech, leading many to hold Tunisia up as the Arab Spring’s success story. But while people are able to say what they want in public, this doesn’t necessarily translate into a free and fair media. There are still concerns the state TV broadcaster is influenced by government and doesn’t reflect the real issues affecting Tunisians. Private TV and radio is increasingly finding its way into the hands of big business and politicians, and the media regulator is struggling to rein in those who break the rules. On top of this, there is concern that the security services haven’t quite shaken off their old ways, and are still trying to prevent journalists doing their work. In the first of a four part series on the media around the world, Marie Keyworth is in Tunisia to explore what has happened to Tunisia’s new found TV and radio freedom after its revolution.
Presenter: Marie Keyworth
Producer: John Murphy
Picture Credit: BBC