Last Updated: Friday, 19 September 2014, 13:55 GMT

Tunisia: Conclusions and recommendations

Publisher Article 19
Publication Date 1 March 2012
Other Languages / Attachments French
Cite as Article 19, Tunisia: Conclusions and recommendations, 1 March 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4f54c08914.html [accessed 21 September 2014]
DisclaimerThis 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.

Participants of the seminar "guarantying freedom of expression in the Constitution" organised by ARTICLE 19, Alpha Steppa, the development league of Kasserine, and Moulahedh at Sbeitla from 25 to 26 February discussed and agreed the following conclusions and recommendations:

Freedom of expression encompasses many important aspects of our lives, including, but not limited to, freedom of the press.

In its absence, atrocious crimes were committed in Tunisia under Ben Ali.

Its absence also allowed corruption and the marginalisation and exclusion of several regions to flourish, increasing regional disparity with very serious consequences for the entire country.

To create a new culture of human rights with the participation of all stakeholders in Tunisia, participants made the following recommendations:

  1. The new Tunisian Constitution should include specific clauses on freedom of expression and include protection of freedom of information and freedom of the press. These clauses must be non-abrogable.
  2. Agreements and international treaties ratified by Tunisia are an essential reference in the wording of clauses relating to freedom of expression and other fundamental rights
  3. The Constitution should include a specific clause on the mechanisms of interpretation and protection of the constitution, including a constitutional court
  4. The development of the new constitution must follow a participatory approach: the government must provide and implement clear mechanisms for the participation of the Tunisian people in this historical process, which go beyond simple monitoring of and via the media
  5. The clause on freedom of information must guarantee the right of access to information according to international standards, to address among other things corruption and ensure transparency
  6. The clause on freedom of the press must ensure, among other things, the independence of the public sector broadcasting vis-à-vis any particular political, economic or partisan interests
  7. The Constitution should include a statement stressing the importance of reaching balance of power between regions, and the implementation of mechanisms to address existing disparity, such as through the allocation of the government budget
  8. The Constitution should include a clause insisting on the neutrality of the administration vis-à-vis any political patronage.

In addition, participants made the following additional comments and recommendations:

  1. The government must immediately bring to justice all those responsible for human rights violations committed during the revolution, and put an end to the impunity that prevails
  2. The government must immediately implement the process of media reform initiated under the first democratic transition, including the implementation of the Legislative Decree 41 on access to administrative documents and of Decrees 115 and 116 relating, respectively, to freedom of press and audio-visual media.
  3. The media must be independent of all political parties
  4. All members of the government must speak and act clearly and without ambiguity on all matters related to the protection of journalists
  5. The government should open independent investigations into all attacks against journalists, including the latest dated 25 February
  6. The media must prioritise the coverage of regional affairs
  7. The government must develop a communication strategy, particularly with regard to issues of public interest.

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