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Tunisia's press welcomes "new dawn"

Tunisia's press welcomes "new dawn"
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As well as the people of Tunisia, the country’s media is also at the dawn of a new era.

Heavy censorship and other forms of repression were commonplace under President Ben Ali, who, since 1998 has been listed as “one of the 10 worst enemies of the press in the world.”

But all that is changing.

One editor described how the front page always had to carry a photograph of the President or his wife. Even if there was no valid story about them, they had to make something up, he says.

The newspaper “La Presse” has today run a piece about the exiled opposition politician, Moncef Marzouki.

But for 23 years the paper was the direct mouthpiece of the Ben Ali regime, and mention of Marzouki was forbidden.

“We were given directives to follow by the government ministers. Here in this office on this telephone.” said Director Mansour M’henni.

Radio Mosaique was partly owned by the former President’s wife, Leila Trabelsi. Today, its journalists have a new lease of life. But they say they are aware that with freedom comes a great responsibility.

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