On 8 and 9 May, an ARTICLE 19 delegation led by David Diaz-Jogeix, ARTICLE 19 Director of Programmes, went on a mission to Tunisia to assess the situation of freedom of expression and information in the country over the last 3 months and held meetings with President Mohamed Moncef Marzouki and President of the National Constituent Assembly (NCA), Mustapha Ben Jaafar, among other authorities to express concerns about the independence of the High Independent Authority for Audiovisual Communications (also known in French as HAICA).
The delegation met with President Mohamed Moncef Marzouki to urge him to protect the independence of HAICA and to guarantee media pluralism.
“One of the achievements of the 2011 revolution was the establishment of HAICA. It is crucial therefore to protect it against any instances of interference, especially from political power or economic interests”, said Diaz-Jogeix.
ARTICLE 19 also expressed that any modification to decrees 115 and 116-2011 must be the result of an open and transparent consultation process with different stakeholders.
The delegation was also received by the President of the National Constituent Assembly (NCA) Mustapha Ben Jaafar, who expressed his support for the creation of a self-regulatory body for the press.
During the meeting, ARTICLE 19 also called:
1. On the President of the Republic and the President of the NCA to encourage the press to establish a self-regulatory press council.
2. On HAICA and the Independent High Authority for the Elections (known in French as ISIE), to ensure that conditions of transparency, neutrality and impartiality are met in media coverage of elections and election campaigns, especially in the run-up to presidential and parliamentary elections this year.
3. On the NCA to enact the Organic Law on the Right to Access to Information before the next elections, and to take into consideration the comments and recommendations made by the civil society.
During the mission, the delegation held high-level meetings with:
MM. Mohamed Moncef Marzouki, President of the Republic
Mustapha Ben Jaafar, Speaker of the National Constituent Assembly
Nouri Lajmi, President of HAICA
Sarsar Shafiq, President of the ISIE
Fares Bessrour, Director of the General Directorate of Reform and Administrative prospective
Bghouri, President of the National Union of Tunisian Journalists
Taieb Zahar, President of the Tunisian Federation of Newspaper Managers
Ms. Amel Mzabi, President of the Tunisian Union of Directors of Media