lundi 7 novembre 2011

Media and Politics in post-revolutionary Tunisia

The Media are a pervasive influence in Tunisian society after the revolution of 14th January 2011. The study of modern Tunisian politics thus requires an examination of the role of the media in legitimizing issues, framing debates, and even altering outcomes. Many journalists insist that their role is not to influence the political processes, but merely to report event. Few any longer truly believe that the media are such neutral actors.  
Indeed, the study of media politics in the past generation has proliferated tremendously. In the political science profession, as recently as the 1990th a relatively few prominent scholars, pointed others in direction of coming to terms with the political influence of the Arabs media. Today, there are hundreds of scholars in the discipline and in the fields of communications and mass media studies devoting their research efforts to understanding the impact of media in politics.
Journalists too have turned a critical eye toward understanding their profession’s impact in the political realm. There public affairs television shows devoted solely  to analyzing the role of journalists in covering political event. Many prominent reports have written articles analyzing the impact of journalism on election campaigns. Many large magazines, have regular columns devoted to analyzing the media, but we must say that many of these magazines and newspapers have a political agenda and seek  to neutralize the impact of the media on key issues.
Publics figures routinely take on the media, oftentimes to protest perceptions of inaccurate or biased coverage. In some cases the role the role of the media becomes a key issue in a political campaign.
Criticism of media seems to have worked. Opinion polls shows that the journalism profession today is generally held in low regard. As public trust in political institutions declined after the revolution of 14th January, so did support for the media. Public trust in political institutions has increased after 23 October, though the media have not enjoyed a similar surge support.
Why have the media lost the public trust ? There are various explications that scholars and media observers have offered.  One  is that the media have became too intrusive and obsessed with the sensational. Second, some suggest that media coverage tilts towards the trivial, especially in campaign politics, and emphasizes such events as candidate pratfalls and misstatements while ignoring key issues. Third, as journalists have moved from straight reporting to also analyzing the news, the public perceives them as just another set of self-interested players in the political games. Fourth, some observers suggest that the rise of  “celebrity journalism”, with is characterized by certain prominent reports commanding large public speaking fees, has made the journalism’s profession appear as tainted by money and conflicts of interest as the political world.