//CGCS Media Wire in collaboration with the Annenberg School for Communication present a noon-time seminar with Joan Barata, Vice Dean of International Relations at the Blanquerna Communication School in Barcelona. In his talk, Barata discusses the role of Tunisia’s media, recent changes to the media climate and social changes that came along with the Arab Spring.
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 development of
a true, open and pluralistic public sphere are extremely complicated.