UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova today hailed the creation in Tunisia of an independent regulatory body for audiovisual media as a major step towards free and pluralistic media in the country. The establishment of the Independent High Authority of Audiovisual Communication (Haute autorité indépendante de la communication audiovisuelle, HAICA), was announced in Carthage on 3 May, World Press Freedom Day.
The HAICA will be headed by Mr. Nouri Lajmi, a professor at the Press Institute for Information Sciences (IPSI), and includes eight other members, drawn mainly from media, journalism schools and the judiciary. It will be responsible for: designating the heads of public media; attributing television and radio frequencies for new media; and monitoring speaking time given to political parties by audiovisual media during election periods.
“The establishment of an independent audiovisual regulatory body is an important step towards an independent, free and pluralistic media in Tunisia,” said the Director-General. “Coming just a year after the 2012 celebrations of World Press Freedom Day in Tunisia, it is also a major contribution to the process of democratic transition in the country.
“I congratulate the national authorities, and particularly the President of the Republic Moncef Marzouki, for this important achievement. I would also like to reiterate UNESCO’s readiness to accompany them in their efforts to establish a comprehensive legal framework on media in Tunisia.”
President Moncef Marzouki said he chose to announce the HAICA on World Press Freedom Day because of the importance of this date, which, he said, is of great personal significance. He requested UNESCO’s support for the new Authority, which is the first of its kind to be established in the Arab world since the start of the Arab Spring.
The creation of such an independent regulatory body was among the recommendations of a UNESCO study on media development in Tunisia.
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