Index 2024
118/ 180
Score : 49.97
Political indicator
Economic indicator
Legislative indicator
Social indicator
Security indicator
Index 2023
121/ 180
Score : 50.11
Political indicator
Economic indicator
Legislative indicator
Social indicator
Security indicator

After the 2011 revolution that forced President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali into exile, Tunisia embarked on a democratic transition with unexpected twists and turns. A power grab by President Kais Saied in July 2021 has led to fears of a major setback for press freedom.

Media landscape

The media landscape has grown more diverse since the 2011 revolution. But the economic crisis has undermined the independence of many newsrooms, which are dominated by political and economic interests, and has jeopardised this nascent diversity. Television is the most popular medium, especially the public TV channels Al Wataniya 1 and 2. Radio comes next, with Mosaïque FM as the leading station. Online outlets have an avid following, but the print media are losing ground. 

Political context

The political crisis shaking the country, and Saied’s uncertain commitment to press freedom, have had major repercussions. Since coming to power in October 2019, the Carthage presidential palace no longer receives journalists, despite protests from the National Union of Tunisian Journalists (SNJT). A ban by the Independent High Authority for Audiovisual Communication (HAICA) on combining media ownership with a political position is ignored by many owners.

Legal framework

The constitutional amendment of July 2022, giving the president broad legislative powers to the detriment of the checks and balances that had existed until then, has jeopardised the separation of powers and poses a major threat to the Tunisian revolution’s achievements in terms of press freedom. The independence of the judiciary has also been weakened, raising fears that, when the courts are called on to interpret the new restrictions, their rulings will serve political interests under the guise of supposed security imperatives. The courts persist in ruling on the basis of laws left over from the Ben Ali era, rather than relying on 2011 decree laws more favourable to press freedom. After the deterioration of the political environment, Decree-Law 54 of September 2022 meant to combat “fake news”, has posed a new major threat to press freedom. 

Economic context

The media depend on private sector advertisers, some of whom own stakes in the media and may have political ties – a situation that threatens editorial independence. Advertising revenue is linked to audience size, and the way this is calculated is poorly regulated and highly contested. The TV and radio advertising market has undergone a major change since 2014, with increased spending on political advertising. The print media’s economic model, based on subscriptions, advertising and sales, is losing momentum, as sales are declining and the advertising market is shrinking.

Sociocultural context

Political parties often use social media to conduct disinformation campaigns, discredit the press, and instill distrust and confusion among voters. Verbal attacks on the media by politicians have increased in recent years.


Attempts to intimidate journalists are now widespread. Reporters are also confronted with violence from Tunisian demonstrators. A threshold was crossed on 14 January 2022, when a correspondent of several international media outlets was beaten and ten other reporters were brutalised while covering a protest. Journalists are also sometimes detained, like the director of Mosaïque FM, Noureddine Boutar, and the reporter Khalifa Guesmi, sentenced to five years in prison for refusing to name his sources regarding an anti-terrorist operation in the Kairouan region. 

Abuses in real time in Tunisia

Killed since 1st January 2024
0 journalists
0 media workers
Detained as of today
5 journalists
1 media workers