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Tunis hosts 1st International Journalism Conference

Published the:  15/11/2018

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(TAP) – Works of the 1st International Journalism Conference were officially kicked off on Thursday at the Culture City in Tunis.

The three-day event brings together nearly 500 journalists from 30 countries and is being held this year under the slogan: "A Citizen-Friendly Journalism."

"We wanted to show, through the organisation of this event with the participation of more than 500 journalists representing about thirty countries, that the press is now free in Tunisia and that it is the best place to discuss the problems of the press and journalists," said Prime Minister Youssef Chahed at the opening session.

"It is a message addressed to the whole world: It was in Tunisia that the Revolution which freed speech in the Arab world started. Tunisia will continue on the path of freedom of expression," he pointed out, insisting that Tunisia is today a free country that benefits from a free press, a fundamental achievement of the Tunisian Revolution.

"We are working hard to preserve this democratic achievement, that is freedom of expression, and will spare no effort to improve the conditions of journalists and to create a better environment for the freedom of the press," he specified, adding that the government keeps regular contacts with the Union of Journalist to improve the journalists’ working conditions and guarantee them access to information and to citizens in general.

Chahed further underlined that journalists are exposed to censorship and repression on a daily basis "and we, as the authority, are called upon to support and protect them," citing the two Tunisian journalists reported missing in Libya (Soufiene Chourabi and Nadhir Ktari).

In another connection, the PM announced that Tunisia will also be the first Arab country to host the International Journalism Forum in June, which testifies to the great strides made by Tunisia on the path of the freedom of expression.

Taking the floor, President of the Journalism and Citizenship Association and founder of the International Journalism Forum Jerome Bouvier said in a statement to TAP that "the choice of Tunisia has become essential, because it is the country that is today the symbol, in spite of the economic difficulties and the threat of terrorism, of a country that fights for freedom of expression and quality journalism."

He pointed out that the conference will help create two spaces for dialogue between professionals from both shores of the Mediterranean. "Our ambition is that this first edition can be useful to journalists. This event will turn into a must-attend annual event for information professionals for quality information," he specified.

Bouvier indicated that the meeting will be crowned by a declaration signed by the various stakeholders, focusing on issues related to security, freedom, threats and killings of journalists.

He voiced wish that works of the conference will lead to concrete initiatives, citing as an example, the creation of a network of French-speaking investigative journalists from Sub-Saharan Africa, the Maghreb and France to meet in Tours to conduct joint investigations.

Jérôme Bouvier also announced a joint project on information education in view of the important role that journalists have to play in order for information education to be given in schools and high schools. Projects, proposals and recommendations will depend on the wishes of participants and partner countries, he concluded.

The event will include workshops, debates and training on various topics related to the press and the media around the world.

The Journalism and Citizenship Association, the National Union of Tunisian Journalists (SNJT), Reporters without Borders (RSF), the International Francophone Press Union, the French Media Development Agency, France-Presse Agency and UNESCO took part in the organisation of the event.