State of the media
Human rights organizations strongly criticized the United Nations for choosing
There are at least 8 daily newspapers and fifteen weeklies being published in
There are some unauthorized media initiatives that are critical of the government. These include Kaws al Karama, Kalima (formerly supported by IMS), and Alternatives Citoyennes.
The state-run Tunisian Radio and Television Establishment (ERTT) runs 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. The use of satellite dishes is widespread and Egyptian and pan-Arab stations command large audiences. Two London-based opposition TV channels, Al Mustaqillah TV and Zeitouna TV, can be received in
The first audiovisual licenses to the private sector was signed during 2004, one to the television channel, Hannibal TV and one to the radio station, Radio Mosaique. Pluralism and diversity is non-existent within Tunisian television and radio. The television and radio domestic news are directly taken from the official Tunisian news agency.
The Internet entered Tunisian in 1991, making it the first Arab and African country to be connected. The number of users has now reached 1,148 million. However, the Internet was became widely used in only from 1996, when the Tunisian Agency for Internet was established to administer and market internet services and technology.
A study presented to the WSIS stated that 10% of 2,000 websites tested by the researchers are blocked in
The five Tunisian daily newspapers La Presse, Al-Horria, Nouvelles de Tunisie, Assabah and Le Quotidien are running versions online. The Tunisian Radio broadcasts online. Certain news sites such as Kalima and TUNeZINE are blocked by the authorities.
The state is running the Tunisian news agency.
The Association des Journalistes Tunsiens is a government-approved union. In late 2003 the association awarded President Ben Ali with its Golden Pen of Press Freedom. It receives subsidies from the government and many of its executive members tow the government line. The Association was expelled from the World Association of Newspapers in 1997, the International Federation of Journalists has suspended its full membership.
During 2004 a new journalist association was created, Syndicat des Journalistes
Tunisiens. SJT has become an associate member of the International Federation of Journalists.
The Tunisian constitution guarantees freedom of opinion and expression, but the government tightly controls and restricts the media by laws and regulations. The first press law 1975, with its amendments 1988, 1993 and 2001 regulates the press. Publications are prohibited to publish information considered leading to disturbance of public order. Defamation of the president, public order, the courts, the armies, official entities, public administration and an individual is not allowed. Punishment is ranging from 16 days up to 5 years imprisonment and possibilities of fines. Editions of foreign newspapers (French and pan-Arab) are regularly seized.
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