Since the 2010/2011 revolution that resulted in the ousting of Tunisia's longstanding ruler Ben Ali, the overall situation for journalists and the media has improved. Tunisia adopted a new constitution in 2014 that protects the right to freedom of expression and information and freedom of the press. The general population is more or less able to exercise their right to freely express their opinions. Although information in and about some rural areas remains scarce, the media landscape is increasingly diverse.
Nonetheless, journalists who publish critical reports or opinions on sensitive topics, such as religion or national security, risk heavy fines. Groups within the government and security services are calling for restrictions to press freedom and freedom of expression, citing the war on terrorism; they are often backed by state media. Organizations such as Human Rights Watch and Reporters Without Borders are concerned about the restrictions on media freedom. Moreover, journalism education in Tunisia does not adequately prepare its journalists for the stress of professional reporting.
DW Akademie's work in Tunisia focuses on freedom of information and expression for the population in rural areas. DW Akademie provides local radio stations with comprehensive consulting and training. It also supports non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that promote freedom of the media, good governance and women's rights. NGOs are given guidance on how to better respond to the needs of their target audiences and how to professionalize their work. DW Akademie has launched MEDIA LOVES TECH, an initiative to increase quality journalism using digital solutions; it includes a competition for the best new start-up. The project got underway in 2015 and will run until April 2019. Its impact was evaluated in 2018.
As part of a project funded by Germany's Federal Foreign Office (AA), DW Akademie supports youth centers in all Tunisian governorates equipped with web radio or web TV studios. Youth workers learn and practice media skills for a young audience, with a focus on media and information literacy and local reporting skills.
As part of a European media consortium project (Programme d'Appui aux Médias en Tunisie, 2017 - 2020) funded by the European Union, DW Akademie aims to help drive the reform of Tunisia's media landscape and organizations.
With a project funded by the EU and AA, DW Akademie works with Al Khatt (Tunisia) and AL-JANA (Lebanon), to promote youth participation through the media in Tunisia, as well as in five additional countries in the Middle East and North Africa. The project brings together youth with NGOs and various broadcasters. Young people, supported by NGOs, research and produce content, voice their concerns and reach a wider audience; broadcasters give youth a say in designing their television and radio programs.
DW Akademie's Media Training division is active in professionalizing Tunisian institutions and associations in communicating with the public. Clients include ministries, lower authorities, the anti-corruption agency, and members of the legislature.
Funding: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), German Federal Foreign Office (AA), European Union (EU)
Locations: Tunis, Kebili, Sfax
Local partners: Al Khatt, Radio Nefzawa, Radio Diwan FM, IFM Radio, Université Centrale, Ministry of Youth and Sports
Main focus: Journalism training, media professionalization, media viability, civic engagement, political participation of disadvantaged groups, community media, media and information literacy