The Tunisian State mobilizes various arms of the state apparatus and bureaucracy to restrict critical reportage and hobble emerging independent media, even though the government maintains that the country enjoys freedom of speech and the press. Measures the authorities employ include the seizure of journals, coverage restrictions, financial controls, imprisonment, and censorship. Such direct bureaucratic obstruction is complemented by more subtle/surreptitious methods of physical intimidation used to control the media environment and keep dissenting Tunisian voices in check. Journalists and human rights organizations continue to protest against the restrictions.
This Program Document proposes an Integration and Competitiveness Development Policy Loan (ICL) for Tunisia in the amount o f US$250 million. This ICL supports the key strategc elements o f Tunisia’s 1 I* National Development Plan (2007-1 1) which seeks to strengthen growth and ensure that this growth i s translated into employment. It is also a cornerstone of the World Bank’s program in Tunisia as outlined in the Country Assistance Strategy (FYO5-08) and the Country Assistance Strategy Progress Report (2007) that set out an indicative program for FY09-10.