Tunisa’s press and media savour the anniversary of the country’s revolution more than most; for a year they have reported with an unprecedented freedom and recorded the Arab spring from its beginnings.
La Presse is the country’s oldest daily; it has rejected government-appointed editors and held elections for the jobs to assert its independence.
“At last we feel that we can freely publish our papers, that there will be no censorship, we won’t be told from upstairs to, for examply, reprimand a journalist for his independence or to write a paid-for story,” said Oulfa Benhassine of La Presse.
The Dar Assabah press association was founded by journalists in 1951 and its members have differing views.
“Now readers want to see their own problems exposed in the Tunisian media. Each day we are witnessing new positive things brought by this revolution,” said independent media critic Khémaïss Khayati.
However, freelance journalist and blogger Thameur Mekki maintains there are huge problems.
“This great wave of freedom isn’t yet followed by a rise in professionalism, impartiality, or objectivity, so the media are still torn between different influences, and different political factions,” he said.
Our correspondent in Tunisia, Adel Dellal said:
“Tunisia’s revolutionary media is not about to let new government supervisors take them back to the bad old days. La Presse has done more than just criticise the nominations, and most feel the idea could undermine press freedoms.
No-one in the business wants any sort of external control, even if the ruling Ennahda party says media management is within its powers.”