Since 2011, tens of new small-scale associative media organisations have sprung up in different towns and regions of Tunisia. Their proliferation has allowed for new voices to emerge both on a local and a national (collective) level. They have also come to represent a coherent third sector in the Tunisian media sphere alongside public and private media. This paper aims to investigate how these new actors position themselves within Tunisia’s changing media landscape. What roles do they espouse for themselves, and what practices and values structure their work? By using Nick Couldry’s notion of voice (2010), as both a value and a concrete process, we analyse how these roles and practices are performed in the Tunisian context. Firstly, by mapping the openings and closures in the Tunisian system that are straddled and negotiated by these actors, namely: regulatory reform, changes in the structure of the media and regional inequalities. Secondly, by analysing their practices and strategies, including their limitations, at both a national and local level. We argue that associative media’s collective work at the national level, through sectoral-representative associations, aims at stabilising and entrenching this emerging sector by lobbying and pressuring state organs, organising collective responses to its structural weaknesses, and creating ad-hoc networks of solidarity and mobilisation with other civil society actors. While at a local level, associative media actors attempt to grapple more directly with the challenges of recognising, facilitating, and extending marginalised voices from their communities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)928-952
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of North African Studies
Issue number5
Early online date26 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jul 2022


  • Tunisia
  • associative media
  • alternative and community media
  • local media
  • voice
  • regional marginalisation


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