October 25, 2019

Tunisia’s new president urged to consolidate press freedom gains

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on Kaies Saied, who was sworn in as Tunisia’s new president yesterday, to continue his predecessor’s commitment to journalistic freedom, independence and pluralism on the basis of the country’s constitution and international obligations.

In his inaugural address, President Saied emphasized the theme of “freedom” as the Tunisian revolution’s main achievement. As guarantor of state continuity, he also promised to strive to ensure respect for the constitution and the international conventions signed by Tunisia.

At RSF, we are of the view that journalists will be able to continuing fulfilling their role as Tunisian democracy’s fourth pillar if their freedom, pluralism and independence is guaranteed,” said Souahieb Khayati, the head of RSF’s North Africa bureau. 

We therefore urge President Saied to ensure implementation of the legislation establishing the media regulatory authorities and guaranteeing their independence and financial autonomy in accordance with the constitution and international standards – legislation that has been blocked for several months.”

By signing the Partnership on Information and Democracy along with some 30 other countries, Tunisia undertook last month to promote online access to news and information that is freely and independently reported, diverse and reliable.

The result of an RSF initiative, this partnership aims to establish democratic principles, including political, ideological and religious neutrality for algorithms and transparency in the way they function. And it addresses the responsibility of online service providers to promote trustworthy content and pluralism in order to escape the current “information chaos.”

Ranked 164th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2011 World Press Freedom Index, Tunisia is ranked 72nd in the 2019 Index.