Tunisia Culture

Tunisia Culture and Mass Media

Newspapers in Tunisia

According to DENTISTRYMYTH.COM, Tunisia is a country located in Africa. Tunisia has four newspapers: L’Action and al-Amal, RCD’s French and Arabic-speaking main organs (circulation: about 50,000 copies each), the government-owned La Presse de Tunisie (40,000 copies) and the private as-Sabah (50,000 ex.). Most newspapers are government-friendly.

Radio and television are state and collected in the Établissement de la Radiodiffusion-Télévision Tunisienne (ERTT), which broadcasts radio in Arabic, French and Italian and TV (since 1966) in Arabic and French in two channels. There are 158 radio and 198 TV receivers per 1,000 residents (2000).


According to ALLUNITCONVERTERS, Tunisia’s cultural life bears traces of all the civilizations that have taken possession of the country: the Phoenician, Roman, Arab, Ottoman (Turkish) and finally the French. In Carthage, located near present-day Tunis, during the Roman period, the great Christian thinkers of ancient times, such as Augustine, Tertullian and Cyprian, seemed to work.

The Arab cultural heritage is particularly strong. The city of Kairouan (al-Qayrawan), founded in the 6th century, houses the Uqba Mosque, named after ‘Uqba ibn Nafi’ who was one of the rulers when Islam spread across North Africa. From Cairo, Muslim culture reached all over North Africa for hundreds of years. At the mosque there is a significant collection of older manuscripts.

The Phoenician city of Carthage, the religiously significant city of Kairouan, the medina (the old city center) in Tunis as well as ruins after Roman, Phoenician and Punic sites are all on the UN World Heritage List.

One of the most famous Arab writers of all time, Ibn Khaldun, lived in Tunis in the 1300s. Ibn Khaldun can be regarded as historian, social scientist and sociologist. He traveled to Morocco, the Iberian Peninsula, Egypt and Syria and made observations and analyzes of, among other things, how communities are organized and influenced by various driving forces.

Modern Tunisian literature is available in both French and Arabic. Albert Memmi and Mustapha Tlili belong to the great names of French literature. Modern Arabic-language literature has its main representative in Abulqasem al-Shabbi, who, although he died in 1934, only 25 years old is considered Tunisia’s national bald. Ali al-Duaji, who died in 1949, has been a foreground figure for modern prose. Mahmoud al-Mesaadi and al-Bashir Khraief are successful postwar writers, while Azzedin al-Madani is considered one of North Africa’s foremost playwrights. Among young writers are Hassuna Misbahi, al-Habib al-Salimi and feminist Arusiyya Naluti.

Some Tunisian filmmakers have gained fame outside the country, such as Ferid Boughedir with the movie Halfaouine – Behind the Veil. Since the 1960s, a film festival has been held in Tunis: Journées cinématographiques de Carthage, JCC.



Protests after self-burning

24 December

A 32-year-old journalist dies after lighting a fire on himself in protest of difficult living conditions. In the city of Kasserine, protests last for several days and police use tear gas against protesters. The case is reminiscent of what happened in late 2010, when a desperate Tunisian street vendor set fire to himself. At that time, Kasserine was one of the first cities to respond with outraged protests. Demonstrations grew and became the Arab Spring of 2011, when Tunisia’s dictator Ben Ali was overthrown.


New ministers should make the wheels spin

November 5

Prime Minister Youssef Chahed appoints new ministers. The important Home, Foreign and Finance Ministers remain – for changes to the most important posts, he must consult the President, according to the Constitution. But the purpose of new names is to boost the country’s economy. The president is reported to be against the government reform, but the appointments are confirmed on November 12, when the government wins a vote of confidence in parliament. Minister responsible for tourism becomes businessman Roni Trabelsi, the country’s third Jewish minister since 1956. He grew up on the island of Djerba, which is also visited by Jewish pilgrims. Tunisia used to have numerous Jewish populations, but it has declined sharply as a result of emigration to Israel.


Laws against racism are adopted

October 9

Parliament adopts a law that prohibits discrimination and hate messages with racist signs. According to the law, racist statements should be punishable by a month’s imprisonment and fines. Rioting and threats, as well as membership in a racist organization, can result in three years in prison and fines. Human rights organizations, which repeatedly report that blacks are subjected to harassment, pay tribute to the new law. When applied for the first time, in February 2019, a woman receives a conditional sentence and a fine for racist charges against her daughter’s teacher.


The government coalition is bursting

September 24th

President Essebsi says in a televised speech that his party Nida Tounes ended his cooperation with the Islamist party Ennahda. The Islamists do not want to kick Prime Minister Chahed, who has fought with the president’s son Hafedh Caïd Essebsi over the sealing position in Nida Tounes.

Budget disputes divide the government

September 15th

The ruling party shuts down Prime Minister Youssef Chahed as a result of being dissatisfied with the president’s son who is paralyzing decision-making. President Béji Caïd Essebsi’s son Hafedh is leading the party and the President himself has asked Chahed to step down. The Prime Minister has tried to enforce the turnaround policy and privatization. It splits the party, which must have a draft state budget for 2019 ready by mid-October. The country’s largest trade union organization supports the demands that Chahed be petitioned.


Migrants are forcibly prevented

August 17th

Police intervene to stop a migrant ship on its way out of the Mediterranean from Sfax. Riot occurs, among other things, the boat is on fire. The next few days, at least eight dead are floating ashore. Four Tunisians, eight Ivorians and two Congolese are arrested – unclear if some are smugglers. During the first half of 2018, 2,600 people were arrested while trying to cross the sea to Europe. It was almost five times as many as the same period last year, a spokesman for the National Guard said.

Resistance to marriage across religious boundaries

August 7th

Despite having the law on their side, a Tunisian woman and an Italian man are unable to find anyone who is ready to wed them, unless the man converts to Islam. Prohibition of women from marrying non-Muslim men is common in Muslim countries, but in Tunisia it was allowed in September 2017. If the Tunisian-Italian couple reports that the woman is 40 years old and the man 68. Human rights organizations demand that the Justice Department intervene.

Anger against liberal bills

August 3rd

In the coastal town of Sfax, a demonstration is being held in protest of plans for reform that would mean that women receive equal inheritance rights and that homosexuality be decriminalized. The proposals – which comprise 230 text pages – will adapt the laws to the constitution adopted in 2014, in the wake of the Arab Spring. As far as inheritance law is concerned, the responsible committee intends that equal rights for men and women should become the norm, but that the law must at the same time leave open to those who want to make their own inheritance distribution through wills.


Woman elected mayor of Tunis

July 3

Souad Abderrahim from the Islamist party Ennahda wins the mayoral election in Tunis and thus becomes the first woman in the post. She was appointed by the members of the Tunis delegation in a vote boycotted by the central and left parties. Women have also won mayor elections in a number of other Tunisian cities. The municipal elections held in May were the first in the country since the overthrow of President Ben Ali in 2011.


Home Minister kicked

6th June

Interior Minister Lotfi Brahem may be temporarily replaced by Ghazi Jribi. No reason is stated. Brahem himself has accused a number of officials earlier in the day after the sinking a few days earlier, and dismissed ten people.

Over 50 migrants drown

June 3

The fleet rescues 68 migrants, most Tunisians, then a boat capsized off the coast. Over 50 people are found drowned but according to the survivors there were at least 180 aboard the boat. The sinking accident is one of the worst so far this year on the Mediterranean.


Municipal elections are held

May 5th

Municipal elections are held for the first time since the Democratic uprising in 2011. Only one in three voters take part in the elections where, according to preliminary results, the Islamic Ennahda is the largest, followed by the secular coalition partner Nida Tounes. The low turnout is seen as an expression of voters’ frustration over continued problems with corruption, weak finances and lack of security.


Free Trade Agreement in Africa

21 March

Tunisia is one of 44 Member States of the African Union (AU) that signs an agreement to set up an African Free Trade Area, AFCFTA.


Tunisia does not release tax haven status

January 23

The EU deletes Tunisia and seven other countries / territories from a newly published list of tax havens. They are now being transferred to a “gray” list of 55 countries that have pledged to adapt to EU standards in tax and financial legislation, but without specific commitments. The EU published its first “black” list in early December. Now only nine countries / territories remain on that list.

Aqim leader killed

January 19

Tunisian security forces are said to have killed an Algerian leader for al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (Aqim), Bilel Kobi, who has been wanted in Algeria since 1993. Another Algerian who is believed to have led an Aqim cell in Tunisia is also killed in the operation taking place in the mountainous regions of western part of the country.

Crisis meetings after unrest

January 13

President Essebsi holds meetings with representatives of political parties, the trade union movement UGTT and the employer organization Utica as a result of the unrest that has shaken the country. Promises of social reform follow, including an increase in grants for poor families, health care for all, and housing for the vulnerable. The Minister of Social Affairs states that several of the reforms have been planned for several months. In total, almost 780 people are estimated to have been arrested during the week’s unrest.

Violent protests against austerity

January 10

Price increases for basic commodities as well as an announced increase in VAT and social charges have triggered protest actions around the country. It started out as peaceful demonstrations but has now passed into a few evenings of violence. One person has died, several hundreds have been arrested and about 50 police officers have been injured, according to authorities. Soldiers have been commissioned to protect banks, post offices and government buildings in the larger cities. Protesters accuse police of assault.

Tunisia Culture

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