A bloggers and cyber-activists meeting was organized by the Renewal Movement (Harakat Ettajdid) this Saturday, April 23rd in their offices in Liberty Avenue, Tunis.
This happened to be my first attendance to a meeting organized by a political party. I certainly liked the fact of their awareness of the power of social media and their approach to cyber-activists and bloggers. Separate meetings with NGOs representatives, artists and intellectuals took place before this one.
Attendees of the meeting were mostly young bloggers but there were also lawyers, jurists, professors, students and different professionals who showed up by curiosity to be part of this meeting. My guess this shows the eager desire to learn about the online world, the different social media platforms and the Tunisian blogosphere.
The Movement of Renewal, which is an ex-communist party founded in September 14th, 1993 and is now a centre-left political party in Tunisia led by Ahmed Brahim.
The primary objective of the meeting was to support the Democratic Front which is a front united around common values of political parties, associations and militants. Such a front will be very useful in the elections of the Constitutional Council and the drafting of the constitution.
Introduction speeches called for a colorful union to join all efforts to start building Tunisia, improve the economic situation, fight all the distractions and focus on the constitutional elections to be held in July 24th.
To my understanding, speakers expressed exaggerated phobia from the Nahdha party and took the time to express irrelevant boring stories to some extent. They also emphasized the huge number of supporters of this Islamic political party and their respected level of organization _unlike other political parties which would influence the upcoming elections.
Part of the strength of Al Nahda is its use of religious/coranic speech wish appeal to many people and that helps them connect with a lot of people and gain sympathy and support.
It was at this meeting to decide how to lobby, as activists of the web, on the progressive political parties. One of the ways to support the Front is to block the fundamentalists. The second, which is also important because it reflects the will of the parties is to bring together a constituency that would defend the achievements of modernist achievement of Tunisia.
Bloggers expressed the lack of credibility, professionalism and objectivism of the traditional media (print, audio and audio-visual) and called to unify the efforts and act towards one direction instead of shattered voices in different corners of the web.
The idea of using electronic media to act as a cons weight got emphasized; a collaborative platform such as nawaat was suggested.
A second idea of establishing a radio for NGOs was proposed to give voice for the civil society and help raise awareness and reach more people than those encountered in separate seminars or activities.
But as an urgent action, attendees agreed on making Thursday, April 28th the day of a “Civil Action Note” where cyber-activists and internet users in general would put the Tunisian flag instead of their profile picture and publish a status or a post in support of the Democratic Front.