A talk with Olfa Riahi, a Tunisian blogger-journalist who visited Duke as part of the DeWitt Wallace Center’s Media Fellows program in Public Policy. Co-sponsored by the Center for French and Francophone Studies.
On January 26, 2014 Tunisia voted in a new Constitution, taking another major step, advancing the change triggered by the so-called Jasmine Revolution, and the fall of the regime of Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali two years ago. The document affirms the aims of the revolution, “of liberty and dignity”. Among those who gain a new voice and representation are religious moderates, those who fight for a secular society, and women. The Tunisian Constitution recognizes the role of Islam in the State, and freedom of conscience and belief. It guarantees freedom of speech, and advocates for parity between women and men. By declaring to safeguard all these rights, it sets a new political, social standard in the Arab and Muslim world.
Olfa Riahi represents the new generation of investigative reporters whose activism plays a key role in public debate in Tunisia. She is known for her investigations into the corruption of the first democratically elected government, and her militancy against the death penalty. Her blog is widely followed and epitomizes the work of independent journalists today. Her book on the inequities of the death penalty appeared last year. Her writing has helped to create a culture of free speech, and continues to test its powerful expression.
For more information on Riahi’s book: http://www.ceresbookshop.com/1977-le-syndrome-de-siliana.html
Riahi is an independent journalist and blogger in Tunisia. Her investigations have focused recently on two main issues in post-revolutionary Tunisia - government corruption, especially in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and death penalty reform.