The year 2021 was dominated by the Covid-19 crisis, amplified by a collapsing health sector, and the exceptional measures implemented by the President of the Republic as he assumed full powers. The year was also marked by a number of environmental scandals, most notably the highly publicised Italian waste affair. New financial scandals were unveiled through the global Pandora Papers investigation, to which there was no response from the authorities, despite the fact that at least nine Tunisian were implicated.
The Covid-19 Crisis
In 2021, Tunisia faced several new waves of the pandemic, challenging the public health system. It was not until the second half of the year that the vaccination rate really picked up and Tunisians began to recuperate from the chaotic management of this unprecedented crisis. In December, the decree-law on the obligation to present a health pass to access public spaces came into force, the implementation of which has been widely criticised throughout social media.
July 25, Kaïs Saied seizing Full Powers
On July 25, 2021, the President of the Republic, Kaïs Saied, applied Article 80, dismissing the Head of Government, suspending all the activities of the National Assembly, and seizing full powers. What are the implications of such a decision? What are the possible consequences? Inkyfada has attempted to review the consequences and uncertainties that developed as a result of July 25.
Tunisia does not know what to do with the vast amount of waste. Lack of a proper strategy, corruption, and stagnation are at the root of unsustainable pollution and problems. The Italian waste affair, the practice of dumping wastewater into the sea, social protests concerning waste landfills, inkyfada closely covered Tunisia's environmental crisis in 2021.
The Pandora Papers in Tunisia
An investigation conducted by the ICIJ, in collaboration with 150 international media outlets (including inkyfada), the Pandora Papers is the largest journalistic collaboration ever, involving more than 600 journalists in 117 different countries. The foundation of this substantial investigation is based on confidential documents being leaked from 14 offshore institutions that provide services to wealthy individuals and corporations seeking to set up shell companies, trusts, foundations and other entities in jurisdictions with low or zero tax liability.
Since October 2021, inkyfada has published investigations looking into 9 out of the 30 Tunisian individuals who were mentioned in the Pandora Papers as having used opaque arrangements to open offshore companies in tax havens. The authorities have yet to respond to this.
In 2021, we created several immersive experiences that focused on individual or collective narratives, in order to revisit events such as January 14, or the inter-clan conflict in Aïn Skhouna [available in English soon]. Additionally, we were able to map poverty data throughout Tunisia to demonstrate the distribution of inequalities within the population. The belated publication of the official list of the martyrs and the wounded of the Revolution also became the focal point for a series looking into the issues surrounding transitional justice.
Our Permanent Sections
This year, we have expanded the "Stouchi" section, which delves into the detailed incomes and expenses of various Tunisians with different socio-professional backgrounds. Every other Sunday, this section lets us uncover a new and unique story. In addition to "Stouchi", we produced two series of a historical nature: firstly "Gens suspects", which retraces the lives of people who were on file with the French intelligence services in Tunisia between the 1910s and 1930s [exclusively available in Arabic and French], and "Beyond the Dates", which focuses on key events in Tunisia's contemporary history, attempting to reconstruct the narrative of an individual or collective memory, through the lens of a specific context or a significant event on a national scale.
This year, inkyfada podcast has produced a number of podcast series on subjects that address contemporary societal issues such as plastic consumption, femicide in Tunisia [available in English soon] and the daily lives of youths in neighbourhoods exposed to drug dealing. However, many podcasts were also created with the intention of revisiting certain aspects of our cultural heritage, such as "Tbarbich" or "Ija Ya Zmen". Alongside this, we also initiated a forum for discussing current affairs through the "inkytalk" series, sparked by July 25 and the decisions of president Kaïs Saied.