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"Government has no intention to control media" (Bhiri).

TUNIS (TAP) - Minister Adviser to the Prime Minister Noureddine Bhiri said "it is pointless to talk about democracy in the absence of free and impartial press able to discharge its mission without obstacles, fully play its role an observer, provider of news and mouthpiece of citizens but also a press prompt to inform the public opinion of possible dangers, abuse and dysfunction.

He also denied any intention of the government to "tame the press and make it under the rule of the authorities."

Noureddine Bhiri was speaking at the opening, on Tuesday in Tunis, of a seminar on "News Agency: Freedom of Information and Professional Ethics" organised by Tunis-Afrique-Presse (TAP) news agency the Konrad Adenauer-Stiftung Foundation.

The government "does not want a subjugated and amorphous press. It prefers bearing some abuses to such a situation, hoping that the sector could make its own reform from inside and with the desired speed, which requires a lot of efforts."

It is in the interest of Tunisia, the elected government and also the people, with all its segments and components, to have free, independent and neutral press institutions, he indicated.

He reminded of the establishment of the High Independent Authority of Audiovisual Communication (HAICA) and the implementation of Decree-law 115, in addition to the reinforcement of dialogue between press institutions and the government to identify gaps and address them, particularly in the public service.

CEO of TAP Mohamed Taieb Youssefi had, earlier, stressed that "freedom of press is one of the major gains of the Revolution and an essential, irreversible and non-negotiable attribute of the pluralistic democratic construction."

"The Tunisian Revolution has freed the national press of tutelary barriers and enslavement, paving the way for freedom of opinion and expression and providing it with new opportunities to excel," he added.

Youssefi also said that "TAP agency is the driving force of public press and the main provider of information to all media." This status of TAP "vests it with a considerable responsibility in entrenching the concept of public service, complying with the standards of competence and professionalism and contributing to the promotion of the media landscape," he highlighted.

Resident Representative of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Tunis Hardy Ostry emphasised the role of the media in establishing attributes of democracy which requires, according to him, protecting journalists and supporting their rights to free access to information sources.

He also said that Tunisia had dropped four spots in the 2013 ranking of Reporters without Borders to the 138th rank, two years after the fall of the former regime.

He deplored the recurrent attacks on journalists reported by the National Union of Tunisian Journalists.

The seminar, to which was invited a number of press and communication experts, includes three workshops focusing on freedom of expression, ethics of the profession and intellectual property.

Tap 2013

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Publication:Agency Tunis Afrique Press
Geographic Code:6TUNI
Date:May 7, 2013
Words:477
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