Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 08/2012

Tunisian Media in Transition

Fatima el-Issawi

June 2012

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace


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.