Democracy and rights
The Tunisian Constitution provides protection for
human rights and guarantees gender equality. The
constitution is considered liberal and, unlike most Arab
countries, Islamic law, Sharia, is not the basis of the
judicial process. The situation for the media has
improved since the revolution in 2011.
New parties are formed and political regrouping takes
place all the time in today's Tunisia - previously the
dictatorship chose which parties would be allowed. But
the whole thing is a full-scale exercise in
democracy-building, where everything does not go in
pace. An example is that individual organizations must
register with an authority, an injunction that was
introduced as late as 2018 and has faced protests.
Offers a comprehensive list of airports in Tunisia, including international airports with city located, size and abbreviation, as well as the biggest airlines.
Requirements for system improvements have been
raised, not least by a truth commission that examined
the dictatorship that fell in 2011. The more important
requirements include independent courts and transparency
in the work of police and security forces.
In several areas, one can note changes that have
occurred or are in progress: A law against racism has
been adopted and begun to be applied. A Jewish minister
was appointed in 2018. Several cities have female
mayors. A law against trafficking in women has been
In some cases, there are reasons to wonder if public
opinion is ready: A Muslim woman can now legally marry a
man who is not Muslim, but may find it difficult to find
someone who is willing to marry them (see Calendar).
Legislative proposals on equal inheritance rights for
women and men have raised protests, as well as proposals
to decriminalize homosexuality. Resistance has to do
with religion: In many cases the Qur'an permits
different interpretations, but in the matter of
inheritance, the text explicitly states that a daughter
inherits half as much as a son. (When the Qur'an came,
it probably meant a strengthening of women's rights.)
Transparency International ranked Tunisia 74th among
180 countries in its review of corruption in the world
in 2019, see list here.
Freedom of expression and media
Press freedom is enshrined in the constitution from
2014 and press and ether media are also protected by new
laws. At the same time, remnants still remain from the
Ben Ali regime's tough media control. Journalists may
still be subject to harassment by the security service
and also experience threats from Muslim extremists. The
problems, together with the risk of being brought before
a court for, for example, prosecution, led to a certain
degree of self-censorship among the media. Reporters
Without Borders finds Tunisia in place 72 out of 180 in
the organization's ranking of how great freedom of the
press is in the countries of the world by 2020, see list
Assessors have also seen risks that new terrorist
legislation following attacks that occurred in the
mid-2010s (see Current Policy) could threaten the press
freedom in the long term. In 2014, for example, the
government closed a radio station and a TV channel
accused of constituting a forum for extremist Islamist
views. The government faced sharp criticism for not
letting the Independent Authority for Freedom of
Expression for Radio and Television (Haica), formed in
2011, handle the matter.
Despite the heavy censorship of the internet during
the previous regime, social media provided important
forums for the protest movement during the revolution.
Today, there is no censorship of the internet, but
journalists and bloggers have since been held
accountable for articles and posts. For example, a
blogger was sentenced to a year in prison in 2015 for
"defaming the army" after criticizing the defense
minister. The blogger was released after three months.
Several of the owners of major newspapers and media
companies still have links to the previous regime.
In the state TV and radio companies, as in the daily
press, both Arabic and French. The private channels
Nessma TV and Hannibal TV have been dominated by
entertainment programs. A protracted conflict between
the Haica investigation authority and Nessma culminated
in April 2019 with the channel being closed, but the
company has continued to try to get the business going
Judicial system and legal security
The judiciary is largely built on the French model.
It distinguishes between courts for criminal and civil
cases and has a system of administrative law, a court of
law and a constitutional court.
The former regime exercised strong control over the
judiciary and the courts often went to the regime's
affairs. The current constitution guarantees the
independence of the judiciary, but in practice there are
still shortcomings, among other things, the Ministry of
Justice is stated to intervene in the appointment of
In 2011, Tunisia joined the International Criminal
Court (ICC) as the first North African country.
Thereafter, international human rights and torture
agreements were signed.
For several years after the dictator Ben Ali's case,
a Truth Commission worked to investigate human rights
violations committed since 1955. The Commission has had
tens of thousands of cases to review and submitted a
long list of proposals for improvement in 2019,
including giving the courts greater independence and
strengthen witness protection (see Calendar). The
situation for human rights has improved after the
revolution, but torture and detention are reported to
occur and security forces have escaped punishment. The
conditions in the prisons are substandard. Exceptional
laws, introduced on the grounds of terrorism, have been
extended time and time again.
The death penalty has not been applied since 1991,
but remains in the new constitution. In 2015, as
anti-terror laws were tightened, the number of crimes
that could result in the death penalty was increased.