Concerns over Press Freedom as Journalists Harassed, Detained

There have been numerous assaults and harassment of journalists by security forces, politicians and officials in recent years–with June alone seeing 18 assaults, and May seeing 13, according to the National Union of Tunisian Journalists (SNJT). However, in the days since mass protests began on July 25 and President Kais Saied subsequently announced exceptional measures concentrating powers under him, there has been a spike in such harassment.

Tunisia: Control and resistance in the media

Tunisian prime minister Hichem Mechichi failed to appoint a former collaborator of the Ben Ali regime—who today maintains close ties to Ennahdha—as director of the country’s national press agency. Mechichi’s failed attempt confirms the parliamentary majority’s eagerness to control the media, in spite of the sector’s resistance.

Young Journalists Seize Control of Tunisia’s Press Union

On September 23, journalist Mohamed Yassine Jelassi, a member of Nawaat’s team, was elected president of the National Union of Tunisian Journalists (SNJT) for a three-year term. The association’s new executive committee is composed of nine members, including three women. With remarkable youth participation and a decent amount of female participation, the new committee reflects changes that have marked the sector within a tumultuous socio-political backdrop.

Tunisia targeted with Facebook disinformation campaign by Israel-based company

Since the Russian interference with the 2016 US presidential elections, there have been numerous conversations, strategy building and commitments on a global scale involving policy makers, civil society and leading tech companies like Facebook to fight disinformation. In the era of “troll armies” and “fake news”, we are witnessing more and more the power of clandestine influence campaigns on social media to fuel divisions, disfigure the public spaces and influence voters. Tunisia is not exempted.

SNJT, a model for export to the Arab world?

“The answer is Tunisia.” That’s what Egyptians say when they talk about a solution to their political crisis and their hopes for democracy at home. It is not only about the possibility of exporting the so-called Tunisian political exception to the Arab region. It also expresses a desire to tap into the dynamism of the professional syndicates, trade unions, and civil society organizations that make up the political landscape in Tunisia and have come to exercise the power of oversight and consultation with the authorities. The National Syndicate of Tunisian Journalists (Syndicat National des Journalistes Tunisiens, or SNJT) is one of these professional syndicates with growing weight and influence.

Nawaat, target of harassment by the Presidency of the Republic

Nawaat condemns the harassment of its editorial team’s director as well as the manifest intention of authorities to attack its journalists. We consider these shameful proceedings as a serious threat against the freedom of expression and the right to organize. We pledge to our readers and to the public opinion to never give in to pressures and intimidation. Nawaat resisted the repression of dictatorship and will resist still more under the protection of the Tunisian Consitution, ratified international conventions, laws, and above all, the Tunisian courts. It is under the protection of these same courts that we will continue to publish leaks, including those from the Presidency of the Republic, if the occasion presents itself.

Anis Mahrsi: caricaturist at all costs

« I’m sick, » Mahrsi smiles. « My hand is sick… Like someone who always needs to smoke, I always need to draw. » Indeed, one of the most impressive things about Mahrsi is his seemingly relentless productivity, the profusion of caricatures, illustrations and projects he has worked on since 2011. In spite of a limited market, a media landscape that thas yet to shake of the habits of censorship, and lack of recognition, Mahrsi has not let down his pen for a moment.