Rubin Reports

Tunisia: Goodbye Democracy? Islamists Start to Take Over Media

The much-touted, Islamist-led coalition government in Tunisia is showing how little has changed. It is imposing the regime’s power on the media, choosing loyal editors and censoring the news. The liberal and independent National Authority for the Reform of Media and Communications (INRIC) is so disgusted that it’s closing down.

Leaders of the INRIC openly accuse the government of trying to control the media ensuring that it spreads the government’s message, ideology, and misinformation. In fact, the Independent Authority for Audiovisual Communication (HAICA) is supposed to appoint editors. The INRIC also points out that the government is not implementing previous decrees to protect journalists.

The Islamist, Ennahada party which leads the government is the main offender. Reporters without Borders has also complained about the censorship and takeover of the media.

The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt can’t get away with this, ironically, because the military is protecting the media, at least so far, from  its control.  As for Libya, there is a suspiciously long delay in holding elections there. I suggest that’s because the radical Islamists and militant tribal forces l would win and the country might spiral into a civil war based on regional and tribal hostilities

Now you might say that the effort of a basically Muslim Brotherhood government in Tunisia to control the media is no surprise. True, but it is a surprise to those who hold the predominant line in the West which claims that the Islamists  are really moderate and pro-democratic. The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt can’t get away with this, ironically, because the military is protecting the media, at least so far, from  its control.