Slim Riahi, founder of Tunisia's secular-free market Free Patriotic Union political party, has purchased the country's main news station
Ettounisya is a popular television station that, like most of its
Tunisian competitors, devotes a large amount of airtime to political
talk shows. It was established shortly after the 2011 revolution and now
is the most-watched channel in Tunisia, according to Tekiano.
Its financial situation has come under scrutiny with the ongoing legal
proceedings against the channel’s director, Sami Fehri, who has been held in jail for months on corruption charges...
These issues have come to the fore in the debate over the creation of a
body to regulate the Tunisian media. The creation of the High Authority
for Audiovisual Communication (HAICA) was called for in a November 2011
law. The statute calls for a nine-person body representing the Tunisian
government, the journalists’ union, and the audiovisual communications
industry. The HAICA would be tasked with regulating the Tunisian media
sector, supervising the media during electoral campaigns, and nominating
directors of public radio and television stations.
Riahi insists he will not try to influence the channel with his political agenda, but others question why he would acquire the station given the poor economic state of the television industry. I sincerely hope that the media environment of the Arab world does not come to resemble that in Iraq, where all major media outlets are little more than mouthpieces for the different political movements, which of course contributes to entrenched social divisions.
Labels: Arab Media, Tunisia