Tunisia: Haythem Abidi, blogger

Haythem Abidi, blogger in Tunisia

Haythem Abidi’s passion is ‘blogging for citizens’. In order to also give a voice to those in Tunisia’s remote regions, Abidi has made it his mission to coach members of Tunisia’s young blogging community. In ‘Bondy Blog’, amateur journalists can post articles about their city and provide locals with information, thereby engaging in social debates. Commissioned by Germany’s Federal Foreign Office, GIZ is thus helping to strengthen democracy in communities and cities in the south of Tunisia.

Why are you involved in Bondy Blog?

I love the media and I’m passionate about online journalism – including video reports. I have a talent for anything involving technology, like film-making or editing. I also think it’s good that people can post comments about the blogs. That’s why I initially volunteered with Bondy Blog. After a while, I underwent further training, for example with Bondy’s media partner, Canal France International. Now I’m a trainer myself.

What does working with young people mean for you?

It’s really important for me because I’m still young myself. I got involved in youth work at the youth centre. I made many friends there and we talked about cultural issues and about politics, too. Young people are a force for change.

And what kind of a change can ‘Bondy Blog’ make?

Young people are interested in lots of different things and they are more likely to surf the internet than read a newspaper or watch TV. They don’t just want to sit on the sidelines – they want to have their say. This means they have to be well informed and that’s where ‘Bondy Blog’ comes in. Environmental, business, social and above all local issues all figure widely. Each city has its own page that is reserved solely for local news items. We bloggers decide what to put on the website and then we reached out to find out what the people in Gafsa and the surrounding areas think.

How would you describe your home city of Gafsa?

I call Gafsa the ‘capital city of the South’ because it is surrounded by the administrative districts in the country’s interior. The city’s centuries-old history and culture have had a big impact on other parts of the country, too. Sadly, joblessness – and youth unemployment especially – is a major problem here and many people are moving away.

What are your hopes for the future?

I dream of having my own youth centre, one that caters for all young people’s interests: music, culture, theatre. Or maybe I’d like to start producing my own films.

Going about his daily business: Haythem Abidi interviews two young men in his home town of Gafsa in the south of Tunisia.

Everyone at Bondy Blog works hard: texts are written, comments compiled, photos edited and film material cut.

Haythem Abidi has already trained 24 junior bloggers.

Five blogger workshops dealt with topics such as film-making, camera settings, film editing, text writing and web culture.

Haythem Abidi has successfully combined his passion for film-making with journalism.

‘Tunisie Bondy Blog’ gives young people the chance to gain first-time experience in journalism. In the best-case scenario, this will help them find employment.

Haythem Abidi is a trained nurse. He initially volunteered to work at Bondy Blog, but he now trains other bloggers.

The Roman Baths in the historical town centre bear witness to the city’s ancient history.

Tunisie Bondy Blog was founded after the 2011 revolution to give young people a platform where they could engage in discussions and voice their concerns.