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Languages over the Web E-governance and Multilingualism in Tunisia


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Entitled ''Languages over the Web E-governance and Multilingualism in Tunisia '' this research will explore two concepts in Tunisia which are multilingualism and e-governance through a survey of official websites and focus on the languages used and the examination of the content that these websites are providing with the communication channels.
The research is is divided into four main sections:
-The depict state of languages in Tunisia with a particular focus on the Tunisian dialect, the status of the French language and the result of Arabization politics in Tunisia.
-The second section is dedicated to the phenomena of E-Governance in Tunisia by introducing E-governance as a concept and its phases.
-The information provided in the first two sections will pave the way to the third section that will be dealing with the Tunisian Ministries over the web by describing their main sections, categorizing them and providing some case study.
-Eventually both section two and three will lead to section four that is devoted to E-Governance in social media calling attention of Tunisian ministries on Facebook which may open the way to major changes not only in the approach to E-Governance but also in the language(s) used

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Languages over the Web E-governance and Multilingualism in Tunisia

  1. 1. Languages over the WebE-governance and Multilingualism in Tunisia Memoir in fulfillment of the Requirements for the License in “Business English” Authors: Amel Cherif Mohamed Bouagina Supervisor: Dr.Sayah Chniti
  2. 2. AcknowledgementWe would like to express our deepest gratitude and appreciation to ourProfessor, Dr.Sayeh Chniti for her supervision, advices, and guidancefrom the very early stage of this research and for sharing her valuable time and motivation throughout the work. Amel Cherif and Mohamed Bouagina
  3. 3. Table of ContentsGENERAL INTRODUCTION................................................................................................. 2I. THE STATE OF LANGUAGES IN TUNISIA. ................................................................. 4 1. Tunisian Dialect .............................................................................................. 4 2. A Special Status for French ............................................................................ 5 3. The Trend Towards Arabization ...................................................................... 6II. EGOVERNANCE IN TUNISIA........................................................................................ 9 1. Assessing E-Governance: .............................................................................10 2. E-Governance Phases...................................................................................10III. TUNISIAN MINISTRIES OVER THE WEB ................................................................16 1. Main sections in official websites: ..................................................................16 2. Monolingual, Bilingual or Multilingual ? ................................................................. 17 2.1. Religion is Monolingual .........................................................................20 2.2. Foreign Affairs Foreign Tourists and Foreign Languages .....................21IV. E-GOVERNANCE IN SOCIAL MEDIA ......................................................................25 1. Ministries on Facebook ..................................................................................25 2. Language(s) Used .........................................................................................29CONCLUSION .....................................................................................................................31BIBLIOGRAPHY ..................................................................................................................34 1|Page
  4. 4. GENERAL INTRODUCTION "Language has always been the perfect instrument of empire." Says Antonio deNebrija, Granidtica Castellana. Until the eighteenth century Arabic was theprevailing language in North African Arabic countries but as soon as the first worldwar was declared not only were Arab countries colonized but also the ArabicLanguage was facing danger. In 1881 France made Tunisia a protectorate and started to introduce French asan official language of social and economic affairs . Even after its independence in1956 the process started by France continued to have its effects on the status ofArabic as it remained the official language for Tunisians. Some of its effects are stillvisible in the Tunisian dialect which has so many borrowed words and expressionsadapted from the French language. This change was not the last change that theArabic language witnessed in Tunisia. In the begging of 1990s, the internet becamethe ultimate tool for communication , people were communicating via the Internetnot only in its established language English, but also in a many other languages,leading the world towards globalization and multilingualism. Even under theformer regime, the Tunisian government showed determination to deal with such achange on the level of language and communication with its citizens. This evolutionraises a large number of questions. What is the state of languages in Tunisian officialspheres after all those changes? How did the Tunisian government cope with therevolution of internet and globalization? Did ICT with its corollary E-Governancecontribute to enhance the trend towards Arabization started in the 70’s and 2|Page
  5. 5. confirmed by successive reforms, or did it open the way for the emergence of newdominant languages? This paper will explore these questions through a survey of official websites andfocus on the languages used and the examination of the content that these websitesare providing with the communication channels. To address these multiple issues,this research is divided into four main sections. The depict state of languages in Tunisia with a particular focus on the Tunisiandialect, the status of the French language and the result of Arabization politics inTunisia. The second section is dedicated to the phenomena of E-Governance in Tunisia byintroducing E-governance as a concept and its phases. The information provided in the first two sections will pave the way to the thirdsection that will be dealing with the Tunisian Ministries over the web by describingtheir main sections, categorizing them and providing some case study. Eventually both section two and three will lead to section four that is devoted to E-Governance in social media calling attention of Tunisian ministries on Facebookwhich may open the way to major changes not only in the approach to E-Governance but also in the language(s) used. 3|Page
  6. 6. I. THE STATE OF LANGUAGES IN TUNISIA. The recent controversy about the language(s) used in the discussions of theTunisian constituent assembly, reflects the various backgrounds and hence thevariations in languages between Tunisians. The majority of the Constituent assemblyused naturally standard Arabic during the discussions, while others would sometimesuse the Tunisian dialect. A member of the Constituent Assembly however had toface challenges when she used French words to inquire about a matter during officialdebates. Many members objected the use of French arguing that it is opposed to the“Arab and Muslim identity” of Tunisians (Samti). 1. Tunisian Dialect According to Dawn Marley, the distinction between “ classical Arabic “ and“ dialectic Arabic “ is important. He defines the classical Arabic as “ the written,standardized form “ as it is used for “religion, education, and all official writtenfunctions “ for instance in books, in governmental papers such as the official gazetteof the republic of Tunisia, the constitution …. It is also the main language of cultureand media (1488). He considers the dialectic Arabic as “the non-standardized form “as it is used for informal and spoken contexts. Something else should be taken intoaccount is the specificity of the spontaneous speech and the spoken dialect .TheTunisian dialect is characterized by short utterances, there’s a well calculatednumber of words. Another characteristic of dialect is the use of foreign words.Marwa Graja states that in Tunisian Dialect “the most important keywords areborrowings from French language “ (24-25). 4|Page
  7. 7. The Arabic language in Tunisia which would rather be called the Tunisia Language isa combination of a number of languages with Arabic as base. In the Tunisian dialecta lot of French, English, Italian, and German words may be heard. Concerningforeign languages present in Tunisia, several linguists documented the existence ofFrench, Italian, and Spanish, which date back to the colonial period (Payne) . Such a mixture is due to different reasons that are geographical, historical… etc.Tore Kjeilen affirms that “In terms of languages, Tunisia has the most uniform cultureof all North African countries. Close to each and every one speak Tunisian Arabic , agreat majority have good to excellent conduct of French, which remain an importantculture language, and all across the country, the young learn English too’’ (Kjeilen).He explains the uniformity that took place over the years through geography. Anotherimportant reason for the language mixture is the absence of geographical boundariesas in mountains and in desert so the language mixture between cultures andpeople living there is high. Another major reason is a historical one. 2. A Special Status for French For a long time, as being a colony for several civilizations and centuries theTunisian culture was opened to a variety of cultural and linguistic influences. “ Duringthe creation of the French protectorate in 1881, language was a powerful weapon inthe colonial arsenal and a method of oppression as effective and physical force “saysKrista Moore (Moore).What is clear is that Tunisian people are greatly influenced bythe French colonizer more than the Ottomans or the Turkish one. John Battenburgclaims in an article that “after independence in the 1950s and early 1960s, countries 5|Page
  8. 8. of the Maghreb especially Tunisia continued to use French as a tool formodernization and development’’(Battenburg).As we can see from the time of theFrench protectorate French was used only by the elite of the society and as aprestigious communication means for the social upper class. Some researches affirmthat from the second form on, Tunisian children learn the French languagecompulsory, so each Tunisian will, at least in theory, speak French, and almost allofficial documents, signs, etc., are written in French, in addition to Arabic as well.According to John Battenburg, “French remains a spoken language among bothexpatriates and some of the indigenous elite”. “About half of Tunisias newspapersare in French; the French have higher quality content, the Arabic newspapers fallmore into the category of sport and gossip news’’. Although French has beenpreserved as a second language, it is in a number of domains such as commerce,science and technology, media, education and administration. French now is seenas seen in morocco for instance the language of social and professional success . 3. The Trend Towards Arabization In the past, preserving the Arabic language was affirmed and declared by “ theleaders of Arab independence movements “ in order to take back their “ people’sArab Islamic cultural identity and to preserve their national unity as a communityspeaking one language “ which is Arabic rather than French or English (Daoud10-11). The political leaders who shared this view encouraged classical Arabic to spread"out of the mosques and schools into the street" (Maamouri, 57), which increased itsuse and enhanced its social function. An absence of Arabic infrastructure, especially 6|Page
  9. 9. in education, stunted Arabization in Tunisia, reflecting the government’s lack ofenthusiasm for the process. The government and elite were nearly all French-educated and the majority of Tunisians lived close to the most francophone areas ofthe country, including the northern coasts and especially the capital of Tunis” addedKrista Moore (Languages and Loyalties). So that Tunisia as any Arab countryespecially in the Maghreb, adopted the process of Arabization which means tried topush back French and to replace it by Arabic. Daoud adds that “The chronologicalsurvey reveals that the decision makers have been rather in consistent in promotingArabization in Tunisian schools. While it is true that there was a consistent effort toimplement the Arabization process during the 1970s and up to 1982”. “On June 25,1958, former President Bourguiba declared in a speech at al-Sadiqiyya High School :Education in the secondary schools will be oriented toward Arabization and the useof Arabic so that it can serve to teach all the subjects unless necessity andcircumstances force us ,for a limited period, to use French to take advantage of thepossibilities that are available to us until the teacher-training schools provide us withthe necessary staff who will ensure the teaching of all subjects in Arabic. (lAction,June26, 1958; Dawed translation from the French)” (Daoud15). According to Mohamed Daoud Arabization also requires the massive introductionof a new vocabulary so that Arabic could replace French as a means of expression inthe modern world. However, creating a modern Arabic lexicon proved to be a difficultand slow process.” Moving to administration in Tunisia, that has not been very rapidlyarabized. According to Daoud, the Arabization of ministries was a “slow process 7|Page
  10. 10. since 1989”.the beginning was difficult and in two years, “only three have been totallyarabized” (Daoud) . This language landscape shows that there is a clear distinction between theofficial language and the dialect as well as French, the second language. With theadvent of ICT and their integration in the communication tools of public services,French appeared as the dominant language, but gradually and with the trend towardsArabization of both education and administration, standard Arabic became the norm. In December 1999, the Government hasted the pace by issuing a circular in linewith a law dating back to 1993 according to which foreign language use is banned inall correspondences with the citizens and the administration was expected to arabizeall its documents before the end of the century (Kuna). Quite obviously, this forced Arabization of the administration also concerned theirwebsites, though fortunately foreign languages were not banned. As for Tunisiandialect, though it has been better integrated in the last decade especially in consumerrelated communication, such as advertising, it is deemed to remain an informal wayof communication, and is still banned from any official publication or other form ofcommunication. 8|Page
  11. 11. II. EGOVERNANCE IN TUNISIA The Evolution of the Information and communications technologies (ICTs) haspaved the way for the emergence of Globalization .Such a phenomena hasincreasingly overspread and became one of world’s growing issues and started to putpressure over governments that had to be responsive to this social change ,address public concerns and manage public issue efficiently by reestablishingtheir use of ICTs and adopting new technological solutions especially the internet .Therefore, governments adopted new strategies to enhance the delivery of publicgoods, services and information to citizens by using the internet, this policy turnedthe administration into electronic governance, E-Governance. UNESCO defines e-governance as the use of the ICT especially the internet bythe different public sectors in order to “improve the Quality of information,effectiveness, efficiency and service delivery.” (“E-Governance”) The notion of E-Governance is also associated with a similar notion which is E-Government. E-Governance and E-Government are considered as two very close terms but thedifference between them lies in the fact that ‘’ e-Government is actually a narrowerdiscipline dealing with the development of online services to the citizen, more the eon any particular government service - such as e-tax, e- transportation or E-health’’.(Sheridean and Riley). For the purpose of this research, the term “e-Government” willbe used to describe the services and information available on the internet, while “e-Governance” will cover the wider scope of policies and strategies adopted bygovernments to enhance the use of ICT in involving citizens in decision making … 9|Page
  12. 12. 1. Assessing E-Governance: To assess the performance of governments in terms of e-governance and theevolution of the official strategy in the field, several phases were described (Backus4). An international e-business research consultancy firm has defined a modelaccording to which e-governance goes through 4 stages all of which can besummarized in the following types of interaction:-G2C: Government to Citizens-G2B: Government to Businesses;-G2E: Government to Employees;-G2G: Government to Governments;-C2G: Citizens to Governments. (Gartner) 2. E-Governance Phases As governments all over the world have been making commitments to E-Governance, Jeffrey W. Seifert in his Report to Congress has developed that E-Governance in deed reflects the stages of evolution made up of 4 main phases(Seifert 9) : 10 | P a g e
  13. 13. -Phase 1: Presence This first stage of E-Government development is characterized by the existence of a presence over the web. During this first phase, the Internet sites are rather static in nature and are only meant to provide general information.-Phase 2: Interaction This second stage of E-Government development is defined by Internet sites that provide search capabilities, host forms to download, and provide links to other related sites. In most instances, this stage enables the public to access to critical information online, but requires a visit to a government office in order to complete the task.-Phase 3: Transaction The third stage is based on empowering the public to conduct and complete entire tasks online. The focus of this stage is to build self-service applications for the public to access online. This is the stage where Oakland County is currently.-Phase 4: Transformation or Integration The fourth is about redefining the delivery of governmental information and services. This phase relies on robust customer relationship management (CRM) tools, wireless access devices and new methods of alternative service delivery capabilities that reshape relationships between citizens, businesses, employees and governments. 11 | P a g e
  14. 14. However, Conforming to the Presidency of the Government Portal (“L’AdministrationElectronique en Tunisie”) was made up of five main phases:- The Preliminary phase ((1980-1999) The evolution of e-government in Tunisia has led to the emergence premises since the early eighties, the first projects for the computerization of administrative processes, and this through the introduction of IT in administration public. This automation results in the creation of several applications, such as the applications for: *Management of administrative affairs of state personnel (INSAF) *The Budgetary Process of Decision (ADEB) *Tracking and order management missions abroad (RACHED).-The first generation of public websites: The Presence phase (2000-2002) The government openness on the Internet: the information phase is the first step of development of e-government. The purpose of this phase is to have an online presence on the internet to exploit this new channel of communication. The website is in addition to all other channels of information and dissemination of official information including brochures, telephone call centers, service centers and fax machines. 12 | P a g e
  15. 15. -The second generation of public websites: The interaction phase (2003-2005) At this stage the organization offers a more personal line of communication with citizens by implementing an electronic delivery service that uses e-mail, search engines, downloading forms and specifications online. This is the beginning of a two-way electronic communication with citizens. We can say that this phase lays the foundation for the establishment of one-stop service "virtual" information more personalized.-Referral to the online services: the transaction phase (2006-2009) This phase is the extension of the interaction phase. It adds remote procedures that allow electronic submission of documents and payment online to complete a transaction and integrates potential of the communication to the processing information. We can manage the full cycle of a transaction from data collection through processing until it is archived. (Online registration, paying bills online, starting a business online, Madania 2 …)-The integrated administrative services in 2009 “The integration phase”: Projects of the integration phase are related to the implementation of an organizational network structure and the strategic use of information technology. Service integration is full integration of its electronic services in various service organizations on a single portal. The citizen may then benefit from a single point of entry to a service request that requires the collaboration of 13 | P a g e
  16. 16. several organizations. (The project of connected government framework, the single bundle, electronic filing tax ...). According to the results from the 2010 survey conducted by the United Nations(UN) (“Tunisie : Leader africain de la e-governance”) Tunisia has been ranked , bythe index of the United Nations on the "E-Government", the first in Africa and 66thin the world out of 192 countries listed gaining 58 places compared to 2009 where itranked 124th . Entitled "2010 UN Global E-Government readiness survey" this index assessesthe degree of application of information technology and communication (ICT) bygovernment in order to improve their services. The UN index is based on several criteria related primarily to the extent of use ofthe Internet, telecommunications infrastructure and human resources. In Africa,Tunisia is better than South Africa (97th), Mauritius (77th) and Zambia (143 th). In theArab and Maghreb, it ahead of several countries such as Oman (82nd), Egypt (86th),Lebanon (93 th), Libya (114th), Morocco (126 th), the Algeria (131 th) Syria (133 th),Mauritania (157 th) and Yemen (164th).Another performance on the assets ofTunisia, the same index shows that Tunisia is ranked better than China (72 th). The development of e-government services in Tunisia, in the era of the InformationSociety, is a strategic issue in that it aims to improve the functioning of publicservices and their interactions with citizens. 14 | P a g e
  17. 17. Thus Tunisia citizens benefit of many services via internet, according to theTunisia government portal (‘’ Services for citizens”) these services are categorizedinto: -Social Services: Paying Social insurance and loans.-Employment services: Looking for Jobs abroad, online registration for employment services.-Health services: Paying Public hospitals charges, and health insurance.-Transport services: Buying Tickets online.-Judicial services: Follow-up of court cases, Follow-up of complaints and Certificates extraction. Making an on-line declaration of welfare costs.-Municipal affairs: To establish the legal status of one’s company. 15 | P a g e
  18. 18. III. TUNISIAN MINISTRIES OVER THE WEB The number of ministries in Tunisia has been changing rapidly under the newlyelected government. However, the official “Tunisian government portal” still counts 27Ministries only 23 of which have official websites. (“Ministries”) An overview of theMinistries official websites shows that they have a nearly common layout. 1. Main sections in official websites: The surveyed official websites seem to follow some given standard according towhich they all include seven main parts. a- The Home page:The home guideline serves as welcome page which tells the user about the latestnews, recent articles about the ministry activities and services .It includes also theother main guidelines and sub-sections. b- The office :It gives the users information about the organization of the ministry, its history, andhow its office is composed and run. c- Projects and programs:This section provides information about the projects and the programs such as themain events organized the trainings offered, recruitment opportunities. The programsand projects differ from one another according to their activities. 16 | P a g e
  19. 19. d- Customized Guidelines:These guidelines differ from a ministry to another. They might be about internationalrelations (especially for the ministry of Tourism and the ministry and the ministry offoreign affairs), legal framework, studies and statistics and forums. e- Documentation:Documentations provide users with printed online documents and articles fordownload. The documents are usually in relation with the training or the recruitmentapplications. f- Citizens’ Relations Office:Where the users can find information about the geographical location, email andwork schedule. g- Useful links:These are generally the Ministries official pages on social Medias and links to theother ministries and national offices websites.Far from the information available and the layouts that are very close between thoseofficial websites, major differences appear in terms of languages used. 2. Monolingual, Bilingual or Multilingual? The languages generally used in these websites are Arabic, French and English.However, not all of the websites are available in the three languages. 17 | P a g e
  20. 20. The websites could be classified according to the language used into threecategories. The Monolingual websites are the websites available in only onelanguage. The bilingual websites are available in two languages which are Arabicand French. The multilingual websites are the websites available in more than 2languages.The Following tables show the lists of Ministries’ official websites according to thelanguages they are available in. Table 1 Monolingual websites The Ministry The Language used Ministry of Religious Affairs Arabic Table 2 Bilingual websites The Ministry The Languages used Ministry of Justice Arabic, French Ministry of Transport Arabic, French Ministry of Finance Arabic, French Ministry of State Arabic, French Domains and Land Affairs Ministry of Equipment Arabic, French Ministry of Trade and Arabic, French Handicrafts Ministry of Youth and Sports Arabic, French 18 | P a g e
  21. 21. Table 3 Multilingual websites: The Ministry The Languages used Prime Ministry Arabic, French and English Ministry of Foreign Affairs Arabic, French and English Ministry of Defense Arabic, French and English Ministry of Industry and Arabic, French and Technology English Ministry of Regional Arabic, French and Development and Planning English Ministry of Agriculture Arabic, French and English Ministry of Environment Arabic, French and English Ministry of Tourism Arabic, French and English Ministry of information and Arabic, French and communication technologies English Ministry of Public Health Arabic, French and English Ministry of Social Affairs Arabic, French and English Ministry of Education Arabic, French and English Ministry of Higher Education Arabic, French and English Ministry of Employment and Arabic, French and vocational training EnglishAs seen in Table 3 the majority of the websites are available in at least twolanguages, and more than half provide an English version. 19 | P a g e
  22. 22. 2.1. Religion is Monolingual Out of the 24 official websites, only one website is monolingual which is thewebsite of the Ministry of Religious Affairs. This means that the website presentsinformation exclusively in Standard Arabic. In other words it is addressed exclusivelyto those who can read and understand Arabic. Such a site “runs the risk of alienatingthose people” (Ishida). Considering the similarities between Tunisia and its NorthAfrican neighbors, it would be interesting to compare this exception to the situation inAlgeria and morocco. These countries share a common recent history of colonization,and therefore of openness to other languages and primarily to French. In comparisonwith the Algerian Religious Affairs Ministry, the two websites are similar; they areboth monolingual, although Algeria is a former colony of France and the Frenchlanguage is part of the everyday speech (Moore). Concerning morocco, its websiteprovides Arabic and French versions which are absolutely identical. This choice canhave different explanations, ranging from an audience that can be different andoriginating from different countries to a less tense attitude towards Arabization, butthis remains to be further explored. However Algeria is not the only country that is similar to Tunisia in providing amonolingual version of the website. Oman, Egypt and Syria have made similarchoices. Other examples can provide more insight through this choice. Strangely,Saudi Arabia for instance has a bilingual website available in French and Englishversions, but it does not provide an Arabic version which normally should beavailable as Saudi Arabia is land of pilgrimage, Mecca and a symbol of Islam in 20 | P a g e
  23. 23. general. Kuwait and UAE religious affairs ministries websites are also bilingual. Theyhave Arabic and an English version. They obviously chose English as a secondlanguage for the website because firstly English is the second official language inmany countries and secondly it is the worldwide understood language.As far as Tunisia is concerned, the problem that is raised here by such a choice isthe prevention of some minorities from accessing the information provided in theofficial website of the religious affairs ministry. First, as far as the official religion isconcerned, that is Islam, there are non-Arabic speakers Muslims, who becameTunisians by marriage or by birth. Second, there might be a misunderstandingstemming from the name of the ministry itself. The “Religious Affairs” label seems toinclude only Muslims and therefore excludes other minorities that do exist and live inTunisia as Tunisian citizens. There are also Tunisian Jewish and Christian minorities.They are Tunisian and they have the full right of knowing what is happening in eachsector and field in the government especially in what concerns their religionespecially if they can not speak and read Arabic language. Djerba for instancerepresents every year a pilgrimage destination for thousands of Tunisian and foreignJews. Also as a tourism destination, tourists might be interested in finding out aboutreligious celebrations and events in the country, but the Religious Affairs Ministrydoes not seem to be taken them or the previously mentioned minorities into account. 2.2. Foreign Affairs Foreign Tourists and Foreign Languages One of the interesting ministries websites in Tunisia is the official website of theMinistry of Foreign Affairs which is multilingual one, providing information in Arabic, 21 | P a g e
  24. 24. French and English. However, this is not the case with its counterparts in Algeria andMorocco which are the official website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Algeria andthe official website of the ministry of foreign affairs and cooperation in Morocco. Themajor common points between those three websites are the fact that they provideinformation about the ministry (office, organization and embassies), the diplomacy ofeach country (Agreements and Treaties) and the vision/ goals set by eachgovernment. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Algeria and the Moroccan Ministry of ForeignAffairs and cooperation offer internet users online documents for downloadBesides they focus through their official website on publishing information aboutembassies and foreign countries, providing updated news foreign affairs besidesplus giving extensive updated interviews with foreign people (ambassadors ,investors and tourists ) which explain the approach they are adopting towardsinternational affairs and building foreign connections . Yet the Ministry of ForeignAffairs in Tunisia, instead of providing documents online, provides external links fordetails and further information also detailed information including the ministry‘sactivities along with national affairs. In terms of the languages used in these websites it is obvious that the Algerianand Moroccan websites focus on the French language rather than Arabic the reasonmight be the fact that these two countries were colonized by the French .Moreover,the documents provided by these two websites are in French even if the users are onthe Arabic version all the documents they can download are French. The news andinformation provided by the two websites whether in the Arabic or French version are 22 | P a g e
  25. 25. highly updated. As far as the Tunisian website is concerned the news found in theArabic and French versions are daily updated whereas it is not the case with theEnglish one because the content of this version is updated but with slight daily newscompared to the others. Another interesting official website that belongs to the group of multilingualwebsites is the site of The Ministry of Tourism. In comparison with the Algerian andthe Moroccan ones which are called respectively the Ministry of Tourism AndHandicraft and the Administration of Tourism, all of them provide Arabic, French andan English version. Concerning the downloadable information, the Tunisian websitedoes not provide any of it neither in Arabic nor in French. In comparison to itscounterparts the Algerian and the Moroccan website, the first does providedownloadable forms but in the three versions Arabic, French and English the formsare in French language .but the second one like the Tunisian does not provide any.Information about the links provided in the website of the Tunisian Ministry OfTourism, are links to “Institutions under supervision, tourism real estate agency,national office of the Tunisian tourism”. The “Administration of Tourism” in Moroccoprovides also to the user links to “Ministries, touristic websites, offices, press”,whereas the Algerian “Ministry Of Tourism And Handicraft” useful links page is underconstruction. 23 | P a g e
  26. 26. An important Remarque is that though the three countries Tunisia, Algeria andmorocco were French colonies, they do provide an Arabic language version becauseArabic is the official language of the countries. In what concerns updates theTunisian Ministry of Tourism three versions are daily updated especially because thewebsite is newly created, not like the Moroccan one which was created since 2005and updates are very rare. The website of the ministry of Tourism And Handicraft inTunisia seems to be of poorer quality as there are only icons which are not active andlead to no information. 24 | P a g e
  27. 27. IV. E-GOVERNANCE IN SOCIAL MEDIA Over the past years Governments around the world, come to realize the power ofInternet in reaching out people and bringing them together. Among the features ofsuch a process are Social Media, including networking websites such asFacebook and Google+ ,micro blogging services such as Twitter, blogs, wikis, andmedia sharing sites such as YouTube and daily motion . These different Social Mediaplay the role of facilitating communication between internet users into an interactivedialogue. As far as Tunisia is concerned, Social Media and especially Facebook haveplayed a key role throughout the Revolution. The previous government in the monthsbefore the revolution even attempted to cut Facebook down, in vain. Today, thenewly elected government has realized the power and influence of Facebooknowadays on Tunisian citizens. That is why the Tunisian ministries arrived one at atime on this social network. 1. Ministries on Facebook A brief overview to the Facebook pages shows that ministries especially thosewhich do not have official website have Facebook pages. It has often been said thatFacebook makes the contribution of citizens in the governmental field more importanteven by making a simple comment. The Ministry Of Interior is an example of the ministries which do not have anofficial website but does have an official Facebook page. This page has been visibleon the Internet since 10/02/2011 (‘’Tunisie: le ministère delintérieur’’), and has 25 | P a g e
  28. 28. intended to facilitate communication between citizens and media representatives onthe one hand and the services of the Ministry on the other. Several components areincluded in this page about the activities of the different structures of the Ministry,audio-visual, recruitments and provided an interactive section that allows visitors toask questions and present topics of debate. When looking at the page, the number of Likes is 290. This small number of fanscan be explained by the image of this Ministry in the country and its violence duringthe demonstration of December 2010 and January 2011. However, the Ministry ofInterior played an important role particularly in the post-revolutionary period whenpeople were afraid for their safety and in this regard, people who wanted to beposted regularly with news about security problems would become “Fans”. TheFacebook page of the Ministry of Interior has already passed the symbolic thresholdof 100,000 fans to arrive now 110,195 members. Very few other Ministries reached this record. For example, the page of theMinistry of Higher Education, posts no more than 24,000 fans. After the initiative ofthe Ministry of Interior which undoubtedly appealed to Tunisians (J Ghaith) , it wasthe turn for two new departments to join the squad, namely the Ministry of Defenseand the Ministry of Industry and Technology with 2332 and 5401 fans respectively.(Wednesday, February 16, 2011 at 21:20). Both ministries joined this social network to show their will of being closer topeople with the ultimate goal of establishing a new form of effective communicationand paving the way for an effective debate and dialogue between national thegovernment and its citizens. The Facebook pages of both departments are used to 26 | P a g e
  29. 29. present press releases, current recruitments and to give official information in orderto avoid or rather counter the rumors that continue to multiply on the Tunisianblogosphere. As part of its desire to maintain contact with citizens (B Youssef), the Ministry ofPublic Health has created a new page on the Facebook social network, announcedthe Communication Services Department. With 20,582 fans this page contains theofficial releases and allows the Ministry’s services to keep in contact with the publicand discuss matters of common concerns. The same sources indicated that thisinteractive page ensured greater visibility of the department while serving as a spaceof expression for the general public. The Ministry of Transport has created a special page on the social network"Facebook" (Kamel), dedicated to electronic communication between the governmentand its citizens. It includes an interactive discussion forum, enabling them to voicetheir concerns, opinions and aspirations. A special section is devoted to recruitmentcampaigns and an electronic link with various national companies and transportservices. The Ministry of Transport is followed by the Ministry of Ministry of Tourism whocreated a special page on Facebook (‘’Tunisie : Le Ministère du Commerce et duTourisme-Tunisiesur Facebook’’) , dedicated to electronic communication betweenthe department and citizens. Apart from updating the latest information and newsrelated to the Tunisian economy, the Facebook page includes, news, interviews andalso a review of national and international press, an interactive discussion forum tomake known to internet users their concerns, opinions and aspirations. 27 | P a g e
  30. 30. The aim of having official Facebook pages for the ministries is to control informationabout the Ministries on the internet by being the main broadcaster (Lamloum), then itwas the TAP news agency, who undertook this mission. Below is the list of existingpages of ministries on Facebook:-Prime Ministry-Ministry of Interior-Ministry of Transport-Ministry of Foreign Affairs- Ministry of Trade and Handicrafts-Ministry of Tourism-Ministry of Education- Ministry of Public Health-Ministry of Defense-Ministry of Industry and Technology Obviously the Ministries’ pages on Facebook were launched few weeks after theTunisian revolution took place which explains the policy the Tunisian Government,that is driving E-governance towards Social Media. This new step is part of theG2C G2B G2E and C2G phases explained previously, phases where governmentagencies ensure mutual interaction between the Government and the internet userswhich are the citizens ( employees and businessmen etc. ) through Facebook . 28 | P a g e
  31. 31. 2. Language(s) Used As far as The Ministry of Interior is concerned, the Arabic language is the languageused in all the publication of this governmental organization. The titles and subtitlesof the Facebook page are also in classical Arabic .Another comment could be addedis that the comments on the news and on the publications are in Tunisian dialect andpeople who are commenting belong to different groups of the society . Because the news and information in the Facebook page of the Ministry of Interiorare up to date, hundreds of comments are posted. Concerning the ministry ofeducation, the main language used in the page is Arabic. Answers and commentsare in Tunisian dialect and some of them are in classical Arabic for certain peopleteachers for instance. As for the Ministry of Public Health, the whole page is inArabic language but there are some passages that are written in French.Comments are written in French, in classical Arabic, and in Tunisian dialect, thequestions and comments are written in dialectic Arabic .there are a lot of people’scomments especially those who belong to the field of health . The major fact that isthe most important one and that is shown by this social media is that the “TunisianArabic” as it is called , plays a huge role in making people’s contribution moreeffective by giving their comments freely and with no pressure . 29 | P a g e
  32. 32. As seen in Chapter One, Arabization was an imposed process on bothAdministration and citizens. The advent of Facebook, not being yet submitted toregulations as is the case of the official websites, gave more freedom to Ministries toaddress the citizen in either languages that is standard Arabic or French. What is allthe more interesting is that the Tunisian dialect rapidly took profit from this freedom,to enter the official sphere, even if a non-official language, it is submitted to nosyntactic nor even transcription rules. 30 | P a g e
  33. 33. CONCLUSION An important feature of the Tunisian population is the frequent use of the moderncommunication technologies and especially the internet which has become part ofthe daily life. Internet is used is not only used at homes and for business, but it hasalso become part of the political life and of political activism. This memoir has soughtto give a picture of government communication strategies over the web, not only interms of content but also in terms of the languages used. Such a presence ismanifest in the publication of governmental administration websites on the web whichare the ministries. The important feature that was examined is the languages used in these websiteswhen posting the information by the ministry. The conducted research concluded thatthough E-Governance is a new phenomenon, most ministries have their officialwebsites. One other finding is that with the exception of one ministry, the Ministry ofReligious Affairs, all websites publish information in at least two languages: Arabicand French. The exclusive use of classical Arabic raises not only the problem of theexclusion of some minorities and namely religious minorities who do not understandArabic but also those who can not read classical Arabic. Apart from this exception it can be conclude that in spite of the Arabization trendthat characterized Tunisian administration, the official Tunisian websites did not giveup using the second non official language that is French sometimes along with a third 31 | P a g e
  34. 34. language: English. In this research, multilingualism was not only considered from aperspective of official languages, but also from that of dialect. While language use varies according to social classes and communities, the maincommon feature of all Tunisians is their use of the Tunisian dialect. The use of thelatter is banned not only in official documents and other administrative exchanges,but also from all written media, whether private or public. The advent of social media and more particularly Facebook surprisingly filled thislanguage gap. Since January 2011, Ministries, with official websites or not, startedcreating Facebook pages to be closer to citizens. Facebook has hence played ahuge role in gathering citizen’s comments about satisfaction or dissatisfaction ascitizens consider Facebook as a wide space for expressing themselves. Ministriesfound more freedom in terms of languages and content, as these pages are not yetsubmitted to the usual official standards of content and form. Most importantly,Tunisian internet users in this space were not submitted to the legal obligation ofusing classical Arabic. Therefore, users’ contributions would appear sometimes inFrench but also in Tunisian dialect transcribed in Latin or Arabic letters. E-governance in this research was studied not only in terms of communicationchannels with citizens, but particularly in terms of languages used. For acommunication to be interactive, the language used has to be the closest to thetargeted users. While this research is not making a pledge for the use of Tunisiandialect in official communication, it simply revealed that language use is related toopenness to the user, and to some extent to freedom. 32 | P a g e
  35. 35. Other aspects remain to be further explored such as language use in the politicalsphere as the problem was raised lately about the use of French in the constituentassembly. From a linguistic perspective, the status of Tunisian dialect deservesspecial attention too, as in most Arab countries, where the language spoken in thestreet is not the same as the written one, and political decision makers would rarelyaddress their peoples in this ‘language’ whether in democracies or under despoticregimes. 33 | P a g e
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