Closing of MedMedia programme in Tunis: public media reform under microscope | Tunisia News Gazette

Closing of MedMedia programme in Tunis: public media reform under microscope

“The reform of the public media must necessarily involve the implementation of concrete measures, president of the National Union of Tunisian Journalists (SNJT) Neji Bghouri said on Tuesday.

“This includes electing an independent board of directors in each media and defining a clear management strategy,” he pointed out at the closing conference of the MedMedia programme organised on May 8 and 9 in Tunis on the theme “Cooperation and values of public service media in Southern Mediterranean region.

The SNJT, in collaboration with its national and international partners, is working to put in place a legislative framework that protects the freedom of the press and guarantees the independence of the public service media that are expected to remain at an equal distance from all political actors, Bghouri added.

Government spokesperson Iyad Dahmani said the Tunisian government is also working to put in place a legislative framework that can protect and promote the Tunisian media landscape.

“Freedom of the press and expression is an irreversible gain of the revolution,” he said.

“The government has opted for a participatory and inclusive approach in the reform of the information sector and involved trade union structures to this effect to promote public media,” he added.

“It has also regularised the situation of several contractors and is fully involved in the training of managers and officials of public media to provide them with the necessary resources and skills to enable them to compete with private media,” he further indicated.

“We are well aware of the responsibility of the public media in a landscape undermined by private media that try, one way or another, to manipulate public opinion,” he said.

“The people need independent public media whose editorial line is clear and does not face any political and financial pressure,” he emphasised.

“The public media also play an important role in the fight against terrorism and extremist ideologies, through sensitization speeches aimed particularly at young people,” he said.

Ambassador of the European Union in Tunis, Patrice Bergamini said “the power of the media is very important and fundamental in a democracy like Tunisia”.

“Democracy especially needs media that are able to act in a responsible way. This is why journalists must play a role of “reminder to reason” vis-A�-vis the authorities and the executive power, he said.

“In southern Mediterranean countries, independent bodies are not enough to guarantee the freedom of the press,” said Senior Vice-President of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) Younes M’Jahed.

According to him, “it is imperative to control the mode of appointment of officials and media content’s conformity to the reality”.

“Unlike private media, public media are not subject to the financial and political pressures that private media face,” he said.

Launched in January 2014, the MedMedia programme is an EU-funded project aimed at supporting institutions and individuals engaged in media sector reform in the Southern Mediterranean region.

The conference was attended by representatives of various Tunisian and foreign public media as well as experts from several countries including Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine.

Source: TAP News Agency

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