October 3, 2012
12:00PM - 01:30PM
Annenberg School for Communication, Room 500
3620 Walnut Street
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Tunisia is the first country of the Arab Spring that has been able to organize plural, open and internationally-accepted legislative elections within a reasonable timeframe. A new Constitution has to be drafted and approved by the new democratic Assembly. Moreover, the new interim authorities undertook the preparation of a new legal regulatory framework in the field of freedom of expression, press regulation and audiovisual media services regulation, including the creation of an audiovisual regulatory authority. After a long period of exercising their profession within the constraints of an authoritarian regime, where information was controlled, manipulated and, if unorthodox, repressed by the State, journalists are now going through a true catharsis.
Concepts like professionalism, objectivity, rigor, the following of professional norms and ethics, and the elaboration and assimilation of editorial rules based on professional criteria are completely new and still have not been fully understood and taken on by journalists. Tunisia is a clear case in the Arab world in which the liberalization process already introduced by Ben Ali did not bring neither economic competition nor political and social pluralism. The challenges now being faced in order to guarantee the developement of a true, open and pluralistic public sphere are extremely complicated.
Joan Barata is a Professor of Communication Law and Vice Dean of International Relations at Blanquerna Communication School (Universitat Ramon Llull, Barcelona). He was a Professor at the University of Barcelona (2001-2005), the Open University of Catalonia (since 1997) and the Universitat PompeuFabra (2010-2011), as well as visiting scholar at the University of Bologna (Italy) (2003) and the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law (New York) (2003-2004).
His writings and research interests include topics such as freedom of expression, media regulation,public service broadcasting and poltical and legal media transitions. He has provided assistance to several institutions and organizations regarding these issues in countries such as Thailand, Morocco, Tunisia, Lebanon, Jordan, Albania, Hungary, Dominican Republic,Colombia and the United States. In particular, his recent writings on Tunisia have been commissioned by Internews. He has been Head of President’s Cabinet (2005-2009) and Secretary General of the Catalonia Audiovisual Council (2009-2011). He has also provided assistance to the OSCE (2004) and the Council of Europe (2012).