Tunisian flags

Reporters Without Borders says its wants to consolidate free speech following the Arab Spring, 'the first victory of these mass movements'

Credit: Cernavoda on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has announced it will open a bureau in Tunisia today (12 October) in a bid to "overhaul the entire media sector" following the revolutions of the Arab Spring.

In a report, RSF said the bureau, which will be its 10th to be opened internationally, will be supervised from its headquarters in Paris.

Staff at the Tunis-based bureau will be tasked with "raising media freedom violations with the Tunisian authorities and helping to build and develop stable, professional and independent media in Tunisia".

"The Arab Spring, which Tunisia began, has brought incredible changes throughout the region but much remains to be done to safeguard what has been won in these revolutions," secretary general of Reporters Without Borders Jean-François Julliard said in the report.

"Free speech, the first victory of these mass movements, must be consolidated. By opening this bureau, Reporters Without Borders wants to be closer to Tunisians in their efforts to achieve democracy. Media freedom is an essential value that must be defended. Everyone must play their part."

Part of RSF's plans for the country include working with the authorities to "overhaul the entire media sector".

"Reforming the media law, regulating radio and TV stations, supporting pluralism and defending the principle of respect for the most diverse opinions – these will be the bureau’s chief tasks.

"We are convinced that journalists who are professional, free and aware of the role they should play are the first line of defence against a return to dictatorship."

The Tunisia bureau will also work with local press freedom organisations such as the Tunis Centre for Media Freedom and the Tunisian League for the Defence of Human Rights, to achieve its goals.

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