Tunisia: Print media stakeholders must define a common strategy to set up press council

ARTICLE 19 welcomes the efforts made by the stakeholders of the print and electronic media sector in Tunisia to set up an independent self-regulation body and urges all journalists and press owners to define a common strategy to set up their press council.

“This council should be capable of safeguarding the independence and freedom of the print media, and of ensuring the media’s credibility and the public’s trust,” said Saloua Ghazouani, Head of Programmes of ARTICLE 19 Tunisia.

Following recognition of the broadcasting regulatory body in the new constitution, ARTICLE 19 considers that setting up a press council for print media self-regulation is a crucial step towards completing the process of media reform and development in Tunisia.

“Tunisians have the right to credible, objective news, especially as the right to information is recognised in Article 32 of the new constitution,” Ghazouani added.

The dynamism of the media sector since the 17 December – 14 January Revolution and the enjoyment of the freedom of expression and the press in post-revolution Tunisia have highlighted the importance of journalism ethics, which are key to the development of high-quality print journalism.

It should be noted that the stakeholders concerned by the creation of the future press council, represented mainly by the National Union of Tunisian Journalists (SNJT), the Tunisian Federation of Newspaper Directors (FTDJ) and the Tunisian Union of Independent Press and Party Press (STPIP) met on 12 February at a seminar organised by ARTICLE 19 on “Freedom of the press and journalism ethics: self-regulation mechanisms” to discuss the various approaches to setting up the Tunisian press council.

Other meetings and workshops on this issue will follow in order to define the next steps in this process of consultation with journalists and press owners about print media self-regulation.

ARTICLE 19 expresses its full readiness to continue providing technical and legal support to the organisations concerned by the print media self-regulation initiative.