A new Tunisian satellite network, Al Qalam TV, went live on Monday, to mark the second anniversary of the Tunisian revolution. The channel is looking to take up the mantle of the revolution, providing Tunisians with interesting, impartial and independent content. Its slogan will be: "Our freedom is creative."
Mohammed Mednini, Al Qalam's manager, tells Arabstoday the reason for the striking motto.
“It expresses our commitment to values of freedom and independence,” he says. Mednini claimed the network would broadcast programming across the board, offering a variety of subjects.
Al Qalam is independent of any political party of foreign backer, and would instead rely on the talents of young Tunisians to enrich the country's media landscape, he added.
“Al Qalam will have a principally Islamic bent but will stick by its policy of independence, keeping away from Ennahda,” Mednini explains, referring to Tunisia’s moderate Islamist ruling party. “Its programming is expected to go beyond purely religious content to explore economic and social issues.”
The channel was first conceived just weeks after the country’s January 14 Revolution that deposed former dictator, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in 2011.
Experts and industry specialists quickly rallied around the idea, bringing together accountants, lawyers, educators and businessmen from the city of Sfax. By mid-2012, this ad hoc community had already published an experimental broadcast on the Internet.
The new channel's management says the aim is to spread “noble Islamic and humanist values” through television, spreading them through a jam-packed schedule of educational, scientific and social programming – “interesting and balanced in style,” they say.
The channel’s mission meanwhile claims to “build character” in terms of religion, nationalism and Arab identity in a "balanced manner free from all forms of intolerance and excess, opening roads to creativity and enlightenment."
Media observers have claimed the unprecedented freedoms that resulted from the successful Tunisian revolution are amongst its most crucial gains, opening up the country’s media sector to investment formerly the sole preserve of Ben Ali and his inner circle.
A host of new newspapers, magazines and TV channels have emerged on the back of the Arab Spring uprising, including Al Zaytouna, Attounissia TV, Tounessna and Tunisia World TV.