Oral history interview with Taoufik Habaieb, 2015
Taoufik Habaieb is a Tunisian journalist. He is the managing editor of the electronic magazine Leaders, which he founded in 2012.
Scope and Contents
Taoufik Habaieb narrates his beginnings in journalism and public relations, after Saddam Hussein's attack on Kuwait City in 1990. He then explains the key moments and actors affecting the outcomes of the Tunisian Revolution, including structural problems, international intervention, and the flows of people and contraband across the border with Libya. Habaieb describes an imbalance of power between media outlets such as TV channels, newspapers and the union of syndicates, where the last had a strong influence on what was published and reported. Print culture was in crisis; dailies lacked resources. Habaieb believes that, since the revolution, there has not been much progress in terms of everyday Tunisian lives. He then turns to a discussion of the National Dialogue, and the influential actors therein, especially Wided Bouchamaoui. He outlines the reasons for Mehdi Jomaa's success as prime minister and the arc of his political experience, including transformative moments such as his diplomatic missions to the West. He describes Jomaa's public relations strategy, which involved "teasing." Finally, Habaieb points out current leaders' mistakes with regards to the media.
Copyright by the Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York, 2015.