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Opposition: Tunisia trying to buy favour with private media

A cameraman backstage at Nightly News at Nessma TV on April 9, 2011 in Tunis, Tunisia. [Kim Badawi/Getty Images]
A cameraman backstage at Nightly News at Nessma TV in Tunis, Tunisia, 10 May 2019 [Kim Badawi/Getty Images]

The Tunisian government is working to win over private media organisation through measures it has put in place to support them with provisions during the economic downturn the country is suffering, critics have said.

Private television channels have faced difficulties for years and do not receive the same privileges as state run media groups. The high costs of broadcasting, reduced advertising streams have been compounded by the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent economic downturn, the National Syndicate for Private TV Channels explained.

Tunisian Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh decreed days ago that exceptional measures should be put in place to support the private audiovisual media sector, including all private radio and TV channels, through the state’s provision of 50 per cent of the 2020 broadcasting expenses.

Critics said the government measure was a waste of public funds.

READ: Tunisia’s Ennahda denounces efforts to create rifts within parliamentary blocs

The Republican Party expressed its concerns that these measures would be a prelude to appeasing the owners of private television channels, most of which are controlled by the wealthy and political power lobbies.

The party demanded the government immediately abolish these decisions and direct those allocations to support the vital sectors that are suffering from real difficulties in this delicate economic circumstance.

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