16 January 2011

A few notes to the media re: Tunisia

Donnacha DeLong | 16.01.2011

As a sub-editor for more than a decade, I’ve lots of experience reworking copy into a readable form. Sometimes it takes a bit more than fixing the typos and adding proper punctation, sometimes journalists get things wrong and you have to fix them.

In the bits and pieces I’ve seen and heard about Tunisia, I feel there are a couple of important bits of direction I want to give the mainstream media:

  1. A popular uprising that overturns a government is a political revolution, not a protest, revolt or any other patronising attempt to minimise people’s struggle against oppression.
  2. A protest where the police/army shoot demonstrators is not a “violent protest”, regardless of how demonstrators react – it’s state repression.
  3. People who go on holidays to repressive dictatorships deserve whatever they get if democracy happens to break out. Countries are not just tourist destinations, they’re places where other people actually live.

It might be a bit too late to take all of this on board in enough time to cover what’s happening in Tunisia properly, but maybe it will help people cover the next unexpected (if you’re not paying attention) outbreak of democracy.

Solidarity with the people of Tunisia.

[Donnacha Delong is a.o. Vice President of the National Union of Journalists]

In this photograph taken on December 23, 2010 demonstrators clash with security forces in Sidi Bouzid, 265 km from the capital Tunis for a third day running follwing the attemted self immolation of Mohammed Bouazizi.

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