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Tunisia: A National Network Of Alternative And Citizen Media

News in Tunisia is described as centralized and monopolized by a few media outlets which are based in the capital, Tunis. These were used and abused by the previous regime's propaganda teams.

The award winning Tunisian blog Nawaat, in partnership with Tunisian Ministère de la Jeunesse et des Sports & Canal France Internationale (CFI), has launched a new project in Tunisia to create citizen journalism clubs in youth centres. Six local citizen media collectives have been started in Sidi Bouzid, Kasserine, Bizerte, Makther, Gafsa, and Gebili – all located in Tunisia’s interior and south. These citizen journalism collectives will allow people to use the computers of the youth centers and disseminate news and views through six platforms.

Graphic courtesy Nawaat

Wafa Ben Hassine writes in Nawaat blog:

The goal is to have a national network of alternative and citizen media, using simple blogging platforms, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter accounts as the collectives’ technical support. The project embodies the heart of grassroots journalism: decentralizing information by helping local citizen journalists create their own regional content through a network covering issues directly relating to local residents.

The project kicked off in October 2011 by hosting a total of six training sessions – one in each city – at the local and regional youth centers (Maison des Jeunes or دار الشباب). Ten representatives from each city attended each of the training sessions, which are taught by both Nawaat bloggers and Canal France Internationale (CFI) journalists. The average age of participants is 17. At the trainings, 60 participants learned how to write different types of articles and how to use appropriate angles in reporting.

Following the first cycle of training, with adequate tools available, all six groups have set up their respective blogs.

The trainings were imparted by two CFI experts, web-journalist Manuel Liutkus and documentary producer Mylène Sauloy, and two web experts from Nawaat, Riadh El Hammi and Oussema Mssaou.

You can find some videos produced by the participants here. Below is a video showing points of view of several young people frequenting the youth centers:

Nawaat plans to create a national platform to aggregate all the blogs and consolidate the network by the end of April, and to have a total of 15 clubs by the end of 2012. We will share more information about this project in the future.

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