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- Moncef Marzouki - interim president
- Although freedom of opinion and expression is guaranteed by the Tunisian constitution, the government tightly controls the press and broadcasting.
- Egyptian and pan-Arab satellite TV stations command large audiences. Two London-based opposition TV channels can be received via satellite; Al Mustaqillah TV and Zeitouna TV. Until late 2003 the state had a monopoly on radio broadcasting.
- Press codes shape coverage and stipulate large fines and prison sentences for violators. Journals are screened by the authorities before publication and the government encourages a high degree of self-censorship. Internet monitoring is omnipresent. Websites which criticise the government are often blocked.
Examples of public relations in Tunisia
- In 1999, Amnesty International and a public relations agency closely affiliated with the Tunisian government had a high-profile spat about Tunisia's human rights record. Wired website had this to say:
- Amnesty has long been critical of the Tunisia's human rights record, claiming the government has tortured activists and denied due process to political prisoners. But that didn't stop Raghib El Chammah, who heads a public relations agency with offices in Paris and Beirut, from setting up a site full of praise for Tunisia's record on human rights. El Chammah claims he came to Tunisia's defense independently, but according to the Paris-based organization Reporters Without Borders one of his biggest clients is the Tunisian government.
- Amnesty retaliated with its own special site on Tunisia and will continue to speak its mind, according to its headquarters in Britain. But that does Tunisians no good whatsoever, even if they have access to the Internet. The Amnesty site is blocked inside Tunisia.
- In 2001, Human Rights Watch submitted a report to the European Union that Tunisia had an estimated 1,000 political prisoners and that the country was making considerable efforts to project an image of respecting human rights. The report stated according to The Independent:
- "To this end the authorities, often assisted by obscure non-governmental associations of dubious independence, conduct vast public relations campaigns overseas and have created an array of official human rights bodies within the administration."
- In 2008, Tunisia is to host a PR forum, the "first North Africa PR Forum" with speakers from France and other countries. The Communicate.ae website describes the forum this way:
- Jacques Bille, Vice President of the International Advertising Association, Sadri Barrage, ex-President of the Middle East Public Relations Association and Taoufik Habaieb, CEO of PR Factory North Africa are all scheduled to appear. On the forum’s agenda are case studies on newly emerging disciplines, internal communications, crisis/issues management, reputation management, public affairs and Community and Social Responsibility activities.
- The goal of the forum is to examine “the latest thinking and best practices from world-class experts and practitioners,” explains Taoufik Habaieb.
- Weber Shandwick's office in Tunisia describes its activities this way:
- Promoseven Weber Shandwick Public Relations delivers reputation management and communications strategies for a host of clients – both local and international. In addition to medial relations, the company provides support in corporate communications, crisis management, public affairs, consumer public relations, investor relations, and community relations.
- US trained military personnel: 636
- US military aid: $62,400,000
- US provided US aid or training to police
- This country practiced torture on an administrative basis during this period
Related SourceWatch articles
- Tunisia, National Geographic, accessed January 2008.
- Country profile: Tunisia, BBC, accessed January 2008.
- Carter Dougherty, "Tunis Fishes for Net Control", Wired, October 4, 1999.
- Raymond Whitaker, "Tunisia's former torture boss heads Mediterranean Games committee", The Independent, September 2, 2001.
- C.P. Sange, "Tunisia to host the First North Africa PR Forum", Communicate.ae, January 3, 2008.
- Tunisia office, Weber Shandwick, accessed January 2008.
- Pascale Harter, "Tunisia's lacklustre election", BBC, October 23, 2004.
- Clark Boyd, "Hungry for net freedom in Tunisia", BBC, November 21, 2005.
- Timeline: Tunisia BBC, accessed January 2008.