Transforming Tunisia: Transitional Justice and Internet Governance in a Post-Revolutionary Society

I’m pleased to (somewhat belatedly) write that a new branch of research with Dr. Christalla Yakinthou has seen its first publication, exploring what Internet governance in Tunisia might tell us about transitional justice:

In this article we argue that examining efforts at Internet reform in Tunisia holds important lessons for transitional justice (TJ) theory and practice, as well as for the way the field defines itself in a space where technology plays an important role in facilitating both repression and transitions. Given the impact of the Tunisian revolution in inspiring the Arab uprisings, as well as those elsewhere, an examination of the Tunisian revolution offers many lessons in understanding the transition away from authoritarian government. We focus specifically on what the Tunisian process of Internet reform can tell us about the increasingly institutionalized implementation of the TJ framework. This process is particularly notable because it has been informed by TJ goals and discourse while remaining outside the formal mechanisms implemented in the wake of the revolution. We examine the more flexible and responsive ways in which local institutions and activists might approach transition, including through attempts to memorialize the impacts of a regime or conflict, build trust, incorporate diverse voices in new partnerships and manage the international dimensions of postconflict reconstruction. Finally, given the Internet’s central role as both a tool for repression and a site of resistance and democratic engagement, our findings indicate the importance of future work in considering how TJ can begin addressing Internet governance as a vital aspect of conflict resolution and rebuilding.

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