Vanessa Szakal

Vanessa Szakal

Vanessa studied French, Spanish, and Arabic at the University of Washington in Seattle. She currently interns at Nawaat where she is able to pursue her interests in news media and the universal right to access to information.

05 July 2014

Ramadan this year began on Sunday, June 29 and articles are rife with discouraging statistics on the inflation and warnings against over-consumption and waste of foodstuffs purchased in over-abundance. With food, water, electricity, and gas prices already on the rise, the expenses associated with the holy month of fasting compound what is an already unbearable economic burden for many Tunisians.

21 June 2014

In contrast to what one hears on the streets about the dirth of natural resources that little Tunisia has to offer in the way of access to the global market, the cropping-up of press releases and studies in foreign press over the past decade or so intimate the titillation of petro-oil companies at prospects of investing in gas and oil exploration and production in the democratically-inclined ‘bright spot’ of the Arab World.

17 June 2014

n Tunisia, the prominent actors and agents of democratic transition and the national media landscape that are so often the topics of Nawaat’s investigations—including the ATI, the ATT, the HAICA, whistleblowing platforms, freedom of expression and the right to information, transparency, the engagement of civil society—are also the foundation and driving forces (along with several important institutions mentioned below) of the vast and dynamic realm of Information and Communication Technologies.

13 June 2014

As it is theoretically and practically in the best interest of civil society and government authorities of a democratic society that citizens are vocal and active in the name of transparency and accountability, practices in the vein of whistleblowing, muckraking, and ‘principled leaking’ are not to be condemned but supported, the responsibles of exposing information previously undisclosed at the expense of the common good not persecuted but protected by the law.

09 June 2014

As much as instruments to monitor and ensure transparency and the constitutional operation of state powers and processes, the HAICA and the ISIE are, just several months into their roles, equally accountable for their own transparency and constitutional operation. The next six months will not only measure their competency and capacity to fulfill this dual responsability but will more generally decide the nature and successfulness of elections and the direction of the country through and beyond the transition period.

06 June 2014

In light of the implication of the Tunisian Ministry of Industry, Energy, and Mines and the Tunisian National Oil Company in the mismanagement of natural resources, the notorious association of oil companies worldwide for politicization and economic corruption, and the immensity of intended exploration and production activities in the south of the country, the Gazoduc-Nawara project demands public attention.

02 June 2014

The aptness of the SelfiePoubella campaign is largely in the irony of its approach, in its twisting of the conventionally individualistic focus of the Selfie in general and especially in the context of the Minister of Tourism’s fetish for self-portraits that have propagated and diffused across the media landscape with as much efficiency as the garbage that has cluttered the Tunisian landscape.

31 May 2014

Two recent articles from The International Business Times (New York) and Index on Censorship (a London-based organization that works to «protect freedom of expression around the world») resonate with the skepticism in publications from Tunisian media outlets and pose questions pertinent to national controversies that embody the challenges of post-revolution social and political transition.

23 May 2014

That the Mesh Sayada case study has been presented in the context of US surveillance operatives is relevant to one discussion but is meanwhile a superficial and imprecise presentation of the project for citizens who participated in its development and to whom it belongs. The mesh network was not brought to Sayada; it was built in Sayada as a locally-devised, collaboratively-implemented initiative to promote Open Source and Open Data principles.

18 May 2014

Citizens, politicians, analysts, and union members expecting concrete decisions and well-elaborated intitiatives in Jomâa’s press conference last Wednesday felt either marked disappointment or resignation to the Prime Minister’s consistently long-winded and half-hearted commitments to real reform.

14 May 2014

Thirty-one year old blogger and activist Aziz Amami was arrested yesterday, May 12, 2014 in La Goulette, a beachside neighborhood of the capital. Some time between ten and eleven o’clock Monday night, Amami and his friend, photographer Sabri Ben Mlouka, were purportedly pulled over and detained for the possession and consumption of marijuana.

12 May 2014

If its delivery is distinctive, the overwhelming message from public figures and ordinary citizens is the same: the gravity of the economic crisis—whether the exacerbated image of a political media campaign or an accurate portrayal of the country’s disequilibrium— is such that the Prime Minister has been called upon to transcend the drawn-out bickering of a politicized National Economic Dialogue, to take actions in measure with the severity of the situation that he has expounded in his discourse and communication with Tunisia and the international community, to devise a roadmap that sets out long-term, sweeping structural reforms.

02 May 2014

What does foreign media make of the Ministry of Tourism’s recent decision to regulate the entry of Jews carrying Israel passports into the country? How will a national debate that encompasses questions of ethnicity, religion, secularism, history, and international relations influence potential tourists to Tunisia? For better or worse, the Djerba controversy and Karboulmania that have overcome Tunisia have yet to titillate the international community; if they have penetrated foreign media, the effects on potential tourists appear yet negligible, and reports are charged with neither the spit nor flame of online articles and commentaries from Tunisian journalists and readers alike.