UNESCO starts series of trainings on election reporting for Tunisian media professionals
Within the framework of UNESCO's programme to support the reform of the media sector in Tunisia, 94 Tunisian journalists and editors-in-chief will be trained over the next months to prepare the election of the constituent Assembly. The series of trainings will benefit both French and Arabic speaking media professionals, but the first round targets specifically francophone media.
Tunisia is experiencing a transition towards democracy since January 2011. This movement has been marked by the abolition of the press and Internet censorship, synonymous of the Ben Ali regime. It goes without saying that over the last 23 years, the country has never had a transparent election process. According to the report of the Arab Working Group on Media Monitoring, in 2009 the allocation of airtime was unfair and the voice of the opponents to the regime was marginalized. Having in mind the reality of the Tunisian media sector, many political actors have expressed their fear to see the same situation being reproduced during the next electoral campaign.
The series of trainings organized by UNESCO's Rabat Office will, therefore, offer an opportunity for media professionals in Tunisia to deepen their knowledge of international standards and practices regarding election reporting in democratic countries. The following topics are to be addressed during the training sessions: the notions of democracy, the role of media and the civil society during elections, political pluralism, journalism ethics, and freedom of expression.
The first round of trainings, which is being conducted by high-level international media experts from 14 June to 7 July 2011, will benefit media professionals from the national TV, the Tunis Afrique Presse news agency, private newspapers and the Radio of Monastir.
The second round will target Arabic speaking media professionals working in the regional radio stations of Kef, Gafsa, Sfax and Tataouine.