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SecondMuse Report: Tunisia's Journalists and Bloggers

| By: Dan McDevitt

Needfinding study examines Tunisian Internet users' needs, challenges

Tunisia has shown tentative signs of progress in recent years, undergoing a political transformation from authoritarian dictatorship to budding democracy. In the wake of 2010’s Arab Spring, a freer press and less pervasive media restrictions have allowed Tunisians access to information more readily than in previous decades.

Even so, Tunisian journalists and bloggers continue to operate under threat of repressive surveillance, face harassment, and work without the benefit of a protective legal environment, a new OTF-supported SecondMuse report finds.

“Understanding Internet Freedom: Tunisia’s Journalists and Bloggers” (pdf) analyzes the online environment in which Tunisians operate, as the post-authoritarian country continues to evolve in the wake of the Arab Spring.

SecondMuse gathered data via firsthand accounts, interviews, and a full “Needfinding” study to gain a fuller, “human-centered” picture of Tunisian Internet users and their practices, concerns, and priorities when online.

Among the report’s findings:

  • Tunisia’s “…legal framework remains a threat to digital rights and freedom of expression; surveillance and harassment of journalists still exists.”

  • “…[M]any journalists feel they face current and ongoing security risks, both from the government and police actors as well as from financially motivated hackers and companies seeking to use their data.”

  • “Those journalists regularly covering sensitive topics, including politics and protests, were concerned about both digital and physical threats. Those who had already experienced digital attacks often implemented additional security behaviors and were thinking about other ways to keep themselves safe.”

The full SecondMuse report can be found here.

Projects Mentioned