Media of Tunisia

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The media of Tunisia is an economic sector. Under the authoritarian regimes of Habib Bourguiba, and then Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, it saw periods of liberalization and then challenges, notably due to Tunisian censorship. The 2010-2011 Tunisian protests and the subsequent change in government may bring significant change in this domain.

In 2007, the Tunisian government's Website counted 245 daily newspapers and reviews, grown from 91 in 1987.[1] These are in large part (90%) owned by private groups and individuals, with much of the press dominated by discussion of government matters. On April 29, 2011, the Minister of the Interior announced authorization was granted to 51 new newspapers and reviews published since the beginning of the revolution.[2]


Headquarters of the newspaper La Presse de Tunisie in Tunis

The first daily newspaper printed in Tunisia appeared on July 22, 1860 under the name Arra'id Attunisi, calling itself "The official journal of the Tunisian Republic", founded by the ruler of that period, Sadok Bey.[3] The anti-Arab attacks by the Colonial Party and its Editor in Chief, Victor de Carnières, pushed Tunisian intellectuals to launch Le Tunisien in 1907, the first newspaper in the French language in Tunisia, with the aim of influencing the authorities of the Protectorate of Tunisia and French public opinion.

Starting from that date, the number of French-language titles grew to reach 41 in 1956, while the Arab-language press counted 288 titles by that year.[4] At the beginning of 1991, there were six French language dailies, and nine in Arabic; there were 140 weeklies — 45 in French — and 160 monthly publications.[5]

Tunisian political parties had the right to publish their own newspapers but those of the political opposition were only published intermittently.[6] Faced with this situation, in 1991 the government issued a grant of 30,000 Tunisian dinars to each of the parties. Other assistance was also provided to cover other expenses (paper, postage, and so on), but appeared to be granted under unclear criteria.[6] In a decree amending the law in 1999 relating to public financing of political parties, the government allocated a grant of 120,000 dinars to political party publications and 30,000 dinars to other periodicals. These mechanisms constituted a pressure tactic that the government could use on newspapers that expressed too much criticism of the regime.


The Code de la presse de 1975 was revised on August 2, 1988, on July 23, 1993, and on May 3, 2001. It notably banned publications that disturbed public order or "defamed" the authorities, even if the allegations had been proven.[7] The crime of "defaming public order" was removed from legislation, as was the administrative formality of preemptive filing of newspapers with the Minister of the Interior before publication, on May 27, 2005.

Freedom of the press is guaranteed by the Constitution of Tunisia, although in practice, it has been usual for publications to follow the government line without a critical perspective, and to report the activities of the president, the government and the ruling party, based on dispatches issued by the government Tunis Afrique Presse. This agency has in the past examined some of the subjects "not to the liking of the government." A report by the UN Human Rights Committee in 2000 showed that despite the 188 titles in the Tunisian press, it was marked by its "uniformity of tone". This was recognized by the President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali and Prime Minister Hamed Karoui[8] without introducing significant change. According to Lise Garon, the press followed "an imperious demand to show a smooth image to the outside world", resulting in a kind of "internal unanimity".[9]

All newspapers and magazines, comprising opposition publications, can benefit from advertising revenue, whether public or private enterprise. However, La Presse de Tunisie, owned by a public company (Société nouvelle d'impression, de presse et d'édition), has held a virtual monopoly, including with respect to Arab-language publications.[10]

Print media

General publications

Title Founded Appears Language Ownership
Tunisialive April, 2011 online English Global Productions
Tunisia Daily May, 2001 online French / English Tn Daily Press Editing (since 2001)
Tunis Afrique Presse January 1, 1961 online Arabic / French / English
African Manager Unknown online Arabic / French / English
Akhbar Achabab October 4, 1997 Weekly Arabic Dar Al Irada
Akhbar Al Joumhouria October 13, 1990 Weekly Arabic Akhbar Média
Al Adhouaa 1978 Weekly Arabic Maison Al Adhouaa d'édition, de presse et de distribution
Al Akhbar April 1984 Weekly Arabic Dar Tunis Hebdo
Al Ahd November 3, 1993 Weekly Arabic Nabil El Bradei
Al Anwar August 16, 1981 Weekly Arabic Dar Anwar
Al Chourouk 1987 Daily Arabic Dar Anwar
Al Mouharrer August 2, 2011 Daily Arabic Abderrahman Bahloul
Al Moussawar October 4, 1985 Weekly Arabic Dar Anwar
Al Ousboui Weekly Arabic Dar Assabah
Assabah February 1, 1951 Daily Arabic Dar Assabah
Essahafa January 1989 Daily Arabic Société nouvelle d'impression, de presse et d'édition
Essarih January 3, 1995 Daily Arabic Dar Al Irada
L'Expert April 1996 Daily French and Arabic Dar Al Khabir
La Presse de Tunisie March 12, 1936 Daily French Société nouvelle d'impression, de presse et d'édition
Le Quotidien April 6, 2001 Daily French Dar Anwar
Le Temps June 1, 1975 Daily French Dar Assabah
Sabah Al Khair April 28, 1987 Weekly Arabic Dar Assabah
Tunis Hebdo 24 September 1973 Weekly French Dar Tunis Hebdo
Tunivisions 1997 Monthly French Media Visions Editing (since 2006)

News magazines

Title Founded Appears Language Ownership
Réalités /
January 1979 Weekly French and Arabic Maghreb Média

Magazines on economic affairs

Title Founded Appears Language Ownership
L'Économiste maghrébin May 2, 1990 Bimonthly French
Le Manager 1996 Monthly French and Arabic
La Tunisie économique 1985 Monthly French

Political press

Title Founded Appears Language Details
Al Mawkif May 12, 1984 Weekly Arabic Published by Parti démocrate progressiste
Al Wahda October 10, 1981 Weekly Arabic Published by Parti de l'unité populaire
Attariq Al Jadid October 7, 1981 Weekly Arabic Published by mouvement Ettajdid
Mouwatinoun January 15, 2007 Weekly Arabic Published by Forum démocratique pour le travail et les libertés
Al Fallah May 14, 1993 Weekly Arabic Published by Union tunisienne de l'agriculture et de la pêche
Al Bayane November 14, 1977 Weekly Arabic Published by Union tunisienne de l'industrie, du commerce et de l'artisanat
Echaâb May 1, 1959 Weekly Arabic Published by Union Générale Tunisienne du Travail
Tunis Al Khadhra March 20, 1976 Bimonthly Arabic Published by Union tunisienne de l'agriculture et de la pêche

Niche publications

Defunct publications


The institutional Tunisian press is frequently accused by large international newspapers of plagiarism. There have been incidents where print publications have been found to have translated and published material taken from blogs and other online authors, without seeking permission.[11][12][13]

Radio and television

Audiovisual media has long been under the domination of the Établissement de la Radiodiffusion-Télévision Tunisienne (ERTT) and its predecessor, Radiodiffusion-télévision tunisienne, founded in 1957. The President of Tunisia, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali announced on November 7, 2006 the splitting up of the organization on August 31, 2007 into separate entities that would oversee Tunisian television broadcasting and Tunisian radio broadcasting.


The Établissement de la télévision tunisienne manages the public television stations (Watanya 1 and Watanya 2 which replaced the defunct RTT 2). Since government policy changes in 2003, the television industry has been opened up to the private sector. This resulted in two new channels on Tunisian television: Hannibal TV, Nessma and Nessma EU, and after the Tunisian Revolution several new private channels founded as El-Hiwar Ettounsy, Tunisna, TWT, TT1, Zitouna, Alinsen, Aljanoubia, TNN Tunisia News Network, Tsport, AlQalam, AlMutawasit and Elhiwar Ettounsi.

Television in Tunisia reaches 94% of households. The dominant platform in the market is free satellite, though terrestrial platform reaches around 15% of the households.(


See also: List of radio stations in Africa: Tunisia

The Établissement de la radio tunisienne manages four national public radio stations: (Radio Tunis, Radio Tunisie Culture, Radio Jeunes and RTCI). It also manages five regional stations: Sfax, Monastir, Gafsa, Tataouine and Le Kef.

The majority of radio broadcasts are in Arabic, but some are in French. In 2003, a process of opening the radio industry to the private sector began. Since then, private radio stations have started broadcasting in Tunisia: Mosaïque FM, Jawhara FM, Zitouna FM, Shems FM and Express FM and after the Tunisian Revolution several new private stations founded as Mines FM (Sawt Elmanajem), Kalima FM and Oasis FM.

See also


  1. ^ (in French) Presse et communication en Tunisie ( Archived 2012-03-19 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ (in French) « 63 nouveaux partis politiques, 66 refusés et 49 demandes en instance », Business News, 29 avril 2011
  3. ^ (in French) Tunisie (Arab Press Network) Archived 2011-09-29 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ (in French) Aux sources de l'édition arabophone en Tunisie Archived 2011-08-18 at the Wayback Machine. par Jamel Zran
  5. ^ Yves Lacoste et Camille Lacoste-Dujardin [sous la dir. de], L'état du Maghreb, éd. La Découverte, Paris, 1991, p. 410 ISBN 2707120146
  6. ^ a b Gilles Kraemer, La presse francophone en Méditerranée : regain et perspectives, éd. Maisonneuve et Larose, Paris, 2001, pp. 164-165
  7. ^ Gilles Kraemer, op. cit., p. 158
  8. ^ Gilles Kraemer, op. cit., pp. 43-44
  9. ^ Gilles Kraemer, op. cit., p. 186
  10. ^ Gilles Kraemer, op. cit., p. 61
  11. ^ (in French) Oualid Chine, « Tunisie : la presse imprimée piégée sur le web », Tekiano, 2 juillet 2009
  12. ^ (in French) Presse sportive en Tunisie : du plagiat au manque de professionnalisme... (Espérance sportive de Tunis)
  13. ^ (in French) Nizar Bahloul, « Tunisie : Rafâa Dekhil à la recherche de lendemains prospères pour la presse électronique », Business News, 3 décembre 2008


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