Tunisia: Democracy further eroded
|Publication Date||4 July 2012|
|Cite as||Article 19, Tunisia: Democracy further eroded, 4 July 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4ffee2162.html [accessed 19 May 2013]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
The National Body for the Reform of Information and Communication (INRIC under its French acronym) established after the revolution to reform Tunisian media, has announced today 4 July that it has shut down after failing to achieve its objective, accusing the government of censorship.
"The body does not see the point in continuing its work and announces that it has terminated its work," said Kamel Labidi, who headed the INRIC. Labidi justified the decision by saying the government had reverted to "censorship and disinformation."
INRIC was created after the revolution that overthrew president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January last year to reform the media sector, and particularly state media organs, to guarantee Tunisia's previously restricted press freedom.
ARTICLE 19 worked closely with INRIC throughout 2011 to support its work through the provision of legal and technical assistance.
"INRIC and the various reforms it instituted were considered by many within the human rights community as the most successful democratic undertakings of the post-revolution phase. Its closure today and the reasons behind it testify to the large democratic retreat experienced by the country since the October elections. The sole responsibility for this regression lies with the Tunisian Government. " says Dr. Agnes Callamard, ARTICLE 19 Executive Director.
INRIC and several human rights organisations, including ARTICLE 19, have repeatedly criticised the government for failing to apply decrees 115 and 116, which are designed to ensure the protection of journalists and provide the basis for a framework regulating new audiovisual media.
In a statement released on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, ARTICLE 19 had emphasised the resulting lack in clarity and legal uncertainty, including among the judiciary, which undermines respect for the rule of law and access to justice, and contradicts the goals of the Tunisian revolution, just one year old.