Assessment of media development in Tunisia

Based on UNESCO's Media Development Indicators

It is widely recognized that the media have a central role to play in the transition to democracy and the strengthening of political rights and civil liberties. This study, based on the Media Development Indicators (MDIs) of UNESCO, examines progress that has been made in media development in Tunisia since the Arab Spring of 2011. The MDIs provide a comprehensive framework for analyzing strengths and weaknesses of the current media environment in Tunisia, drawing on a proven methodology that is based on international standards and good practice. The purpose of this study is to support the democratic transition in Tunisia and to contribute to the development of free, independent and pluralist media.

Coordinated by a team composed of two national experts and one international expert, it builds on the work of the National Authority for Reform of Information and Communication (INRIC), of the government, of media trade unions and professional associations, of civil society and of international organizations, and has been implemented in consultation with the principal national stakeholders. This study of the media sector forms part of an enhanced collaboration between UNESCO and Tunisia to support transformation of the media and, in turn, the democratic transition in Tunisia.

The Tunisia Report made recommendations, including that the government should ensure extensive public consultation before the adoption or modification of any law relating to freedom of expression or the media. In addition, the new Constitution should include a specific and detailed chapter on fundamental human rights consistent with the international treaties and conventions ratified by Tunisia. Measures to prevent concentration within and between different media sectors should be strengthened and transparency of ownership should be ensured, and the system for regulation of the broadcasting landscape should have as its principal objective the promotion of a diverse mix of public, private and community media.

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This assessment is based on UNESCO’s Media Development Indicators (MDIs), which were endorsed in 2008 by the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC). MDIs, which cover all aspects of media development, define a framework within which the media can best contribute to, and benefit from, good governance and democratic development. They are being applied in various countries worldwide to identify their specific needs in view of guiding the formulation of media-related policies and improving the targeting of media development efforts.

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