Tunisia - Media Landscape
|Suffrage||18 yrs of age; universal with exceptions|
|Currency||Tunisian Dinar (TND)|
|Population||10.3 m (2007)|
|Area||163. 610 sq km|
|Total imports (%EU)||€13.1 bn (2006) (76%)|
|Total exports (%EU)||€9.4 bn (2006) (79%)|
|GDP||€25 bn (2006)|
|GDP per capita||€2.459 (2006)|
|Internet users (per 1000 people)||94,6 (2005)|
|Languages||Arabic (Official and Commerce)|
Tunisia can be described as one of the most repressive countries in terms of media freedom, particularly compared to its’ neighbours in North Africa. All mediations and efforts to persuade the government to increase press freedom have failed. All kinds of technical and administrative obstacles are being used against the circulation of minority opinions in the market.
In 2003, Tunisia lifted its monopoly on broadcasting. Now, Egyptian and pan-Arab satellite TV stations command large audiences in Tunisia. Two opposition channels, based in London, can be received via satellite: Al-Mustaqillah TV and Zeitouna TV. Al-Mustaqillah is owned by Dr. Mohammed El-Hachmi Hamdi, opposed to the rule of Tunisian president Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali. Zeitouna TV is owned by the outlawed Islamist party, Al-Nadha.
Tunisia has detailed Internet legislation. It censors the Internet. There are restrictions and practical problems in gaining access. The government monitors e-mails and blocks websites, especially political and human rights websites. A police unit was set up in 2002 to monitor the Internet.
And, through the Tunisian Agency for External Communication, the government controls the public advertising funds for newspapers and periodicals.
There are at least eight dailies and 15 weeklies in circulation in Tunisia. The Al-Sabah is one of the most important newspapers. It is known for its pro-government stance. Al-Mawkif and Al-Tariq Al-Jadid are opposition party journals. Al0Mawkif is published by the Progressive Democratic Party. Al-Tariq Al-Jadid is published by The Renewal Movement (Et Tajdid). La Presse, a French-language daily has a strong circulation, as does Essahafa, in Arabic. Both of these newspapers are owned by the Societe Nationale de Presse et d’Edition (SNIPE).
TAP (Agence Tunis Afrique Presse) is a well-regarded Tunisian press agency. Launched in 1961, it provides news on current events in Arabic, French and English.
The Tunisian Radio and Television Establishment (ERTT), run by the state, operates two national TV channels and several radio networks.
Until November, 2003, the state had a monopoly on radio broadcasting and private channels were only available via satellite transmission.
Since the start of transmission in 1936, radio broadcasting in Tunisia has grown rapidly. There are now seven AM, 38 FM and 2 shortwave stations on air in Tunisia. These include the national RT, and international (RTCI) stations, reaching 2.06 million radio sets.
Hannibal, a new private station was created in February, 2005. It is not authorised to broadcast news. This is also the case for the private radio station Mosaique. Television and radio domestic news stories are directly taken from the official Tunisian news agency, TAP.
The Internet was introduced to the Tunisian market in 1991. It took five years to become accessible to the public. As of 2007, the number of Internet users stood at 1.295 million. In 1996, the Tunisian Internet Agency was set up to monitor Internet services and technology. However, this body acts as a control agency to monitor exchange of information over the Internet.
Learning and support
The Centre Africain de Perfectionnement des Journalistes et Communicateurs offers entry-level education for journalists. Specialisations include: Online journalism, print writing and design, radio and television.
The Institut de Presse et des Sciences de l’Information provides individuals seeking entry-level education the opportunity to train in areas such as photojournalism, online journalism, print writing and design, radio and television.
On January, 2008, Tunisia’s journalists created a national trade union, dissolving in the process the Association of Tunisian Journalists. In April, the Union of Tunisian Journalists (SJT) joined the National Union of Tunisian Journalists (SNJT) in an effort to create a unified voice to advocate for media workers. This historic reform within Tunisian journalism will allow the SNJT to focus both on improving the poor working conditions of journalists and defending journalists’ professional rights.
In May 2008, SNJT issued a detailed report about the violations of press freedom in the country. The SJT criticizes the press code and calls upon the government to lift its repressive laws. The reactions of the authorities take the form of a campaign conducted by the governmental media against the reports’ authors.
- Press Reference
- CIA Factbook
- Cellular News
Association des Journalistes Tunisiens
Avenue Slimane Ben Slimane 7
Manar II - 2092
Tel.: +216 718 890 00
Fax: +216 718 835 00
Syndicat des Journalistes Tunisiens (SJT)
Chez Me Chaouki Tabib
Rue Habib Thameur 11
Tunis RP 1000
Tel.: +216 712 534 69
Fax: +216 713 365 39
Email: - Amel Bejaoui (Foreign Relations Officer)
Centre Africian de Perfectionnement des Journalistes et Communicateurs
Director : Mohammed Chelbi
Rue Hooker Doolittle 9
Tunis Belvédère 1002
Fax : +216 717 812 21
Website : http://www.capjc.nat.tn/
Institut de Presse et des Sciences de l’Information
Director : Mohamed Hamdane
Fax. : +216 716 004 65