Tunisia media authority shuts down citing Islamist interference

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INRIC National Reform Forum Information and Communicatio
Kamel Labidi (right), president of the National Reform Forum Information and Communication, speaks with journalists in Tunis, Tunisia. Photo - AFP

The independent Tunisian media authority on Wednesday announced it is shutting down citing its failure to achieve objectives due to interference by the Islamist-dominated government.

“The body does not see the point in continuing its work and announces that it has terminated its work,” said Kamel Labidi, who heads the National Body for the Reform of Information and Communication (INRIC).

Labidi justified the decision by saying the government had reverted to “censorship and disinformation.”

The post-Ben Ali government created the INRIC in January last year to reform the media sector, and particularly state controlled organisations, to guarantee press freedoms restricted during the last 27 years.

Labidi, the organisation’s director, is himself a journalist who lived in exile during Ben Ali’s dictatorship.

Several human rights organisations have repeatedly criticised the government for lacking the will to take steps to guarantee the independence of the media.

It has cited the failure to apply decrees 115 and 116, which are designed to ensure the protection of journalists and provide the basis for a framework regulating new audiovisual media.

INRIC’s announcement comes at a time of growing tensions President Moncef Marzouki, a veteran human rights activist, and the Islamist Ennahda party, which won Tunisia’s post-uprising polls in October.

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