Unkown audience concentration
Horizontal audience concentration occurs when a media or media group accounts for a large part of the audience of a specific type of media (television, radio, print or online media). Cross-media audience concentration occurs when a media group or owner owns media outlets of different types of media that generate together a large audience share.
Given the lack of reliable audience figures, audience concentration could not be calculated. This can be considered as a risk to media pluralism, as even the regulators are not able to act or to prevent audience concentration if they do not have access to reliable figures.
The state is the main owner of media
The state is the only actor who owns several media. In terms of public media, it owns two television stations and nine national and regional radio stations, plus a publishing house editing two dailies. The state also holds the Tunisian news agency Tunis Afrique Presse.
The state also manages the confiscated media of which it is majority shareholder. These media belonged to relatives of the Ben Ali regime. The state also holds minority shares in media such as Mosaique FM.
Low ownership concentration of private media
The study on media ownership, however, shows that there is a low concentration (horizontal or cross-media) of ownership of media in Tunisia. This is likely to reinforce pluralism.
Different owners hold the publishing houses and TV stations, except for Zitouna TV, whose owner launched a second television channel, Zitouna Hidaya. Both are without a licence and broadcast from abroad.
Regarding the radio, there are some owners who own shares in several stations, directly or indirectly. In order to respect the concentration regulations, which limit the shares one can hold in several audio-visual media, some owners are not mentioned officially, but manage their shares through a company or other person, as illustrates the case of Lofi Abdennadher.
Media groups like Taieb Zahar’s (which owns among other the weekly Réalités) also have shares in other media (such as Business News). One can also mention the case of Nessma TV which has just launched a mobile operator, Nessma Mobile. The founder and former CEO of the channel is also active in the field of advertising which strengthens its economic importance.
Given the lack of market data, the economic dominance of one or more companies could not be established.