After having been overlooked for so long by national news programmes during the regime of President Ben Ali, the regional correspondents at both public and private media outlets are today still struggling to make themselves heard. Even though there is a recognised interest for local news, a 'media desert' has established itself around regional economic and cultural affairs.
With their services only rarely being called upon, local & regional journalists do not have the training, experience and resources needed to become a driving force in shaping the changing face of today's media. The divisions arising from the lack of any regional news coverage will ultimately hinder national cohesion and damage the democratisation process.
In order to overcome these problems, a number of local initiatives have been launched since the end of 2011, resulting in the formation of a network of citizen-journalist associations principally made up of young, eager and committed Tunisians who have made it their mission to report on local events across the entire country. Known as the ' Jaridaty' network, these citizen-journalists associations, which came together following the creation of the participatory blog Nawaat, are now seeking to establish themselves as local media outlets.
From this perspective, the 'Citizen-journalism and local & regional journalism in Tunisia' project is supporting the Al Khatt cooperative in order to continue transforming these associations into multimedia platforms, through the launch of two Internet radio stations and an Internet TV station. The project is also lending a hand to the team at Tunisie Bondy Blog, a regional media outlet that is seeking to put a training centre in place and play an active role in training up citizen-journalists. The overall aim is to help these local news reporters turn professional, and offer training courses in journalism to Tunisians from the central and southern regions of the country.
Local & regional journalists, regional correspondents working for private media outlets
Citizen-journalists who are members of associations and form part of networks
Technical and journalistic training courses provided by an Internet radio expert and an Internet TV expert, for the citizen-journalist associations in Makthar, Kébili and Tozeur, and supporting the activities of the associations in Oueslatia, Krib and Bizerte.
CFI and the African Centre for the Training of Journalists and Communicators (CAPJC) are about to conclude their training programme leading to a qualification in local and regional journalism. The final session, which is being held in Tunis from 14 to 20 December, focuses on the global media.
CFI is launching a call for an expression of interest in designing and leading a training and refresher course in proximity journalism in Tunisia.
Advanced training for bloggers (video and written blogs) provided by a CFI trainer and a TBB trainer, and assistance in devising the content for the multimedia training centre.
Organising two training cycles for honing local & regional journalism skills, with the CAPJC (the African Centre for the Training of Journalists and Communicators), for around a dozen journalists: five sessions in Tunis and the provinces, led by two trainers (one French, the other Tunisian), with a pair of leading experts overseeing the work performed by the beneficiaries between the monthly training sessions.
Training radio correspondents (with Al Khatt, and in partnership with the Deutsche Welle Akademie and the Institut français de Tunisie) in six towns and cities, with each session hosting 15-20 journalists whose applications to take part have been accepted. In order to make the training as true to life as possible, the trainers are French and German correspondents who work in Tunisia, together with a Tunisian trainer from Al Khatt.