Friday, December 9, 2011
Slim Ayadi is a citizen journalist who reported a lot about the situation of Tunesia. Not an easy job, that’s for sure. He came to Holland to talk about Internet-freedom. ‘You can’t get your stories on TV, but we have YouTube.’

“Two years ago I was a journalist. I had a job, I had a salary, I had everything. But at that time It seemed to me that we didn’t have enough information about the reality of the people, the citizens of Tunesia. One year ago I lost my job. My life is changing using the Internet; being a citizen journalist, I was obliged to go to the street and inform people in Tunesia about everything because you can't get your news on TV, but we have YouTube.”

“I think there is a problem is this world: we are not happy. We choose to make and to search for our happiness. My happiness is to inform others. To give a solution to the lack of information and to have an opportunity to see the world. When you look at media, classic media, there is a lot of money behind those projects. When you practice civil journalism, there is no money at all. You just try to give another solution for others to see your life, to speak about the situation in your country and spread that news around the globe. In Tunesia you are with or against the current regime. But I speak as the third person, the independent one; we can make it together. I have a lot of problems; I don’t have a job as an official journalist so I have a lot of time. I think we must go, we must travel, we must work. And you don’t stop when you have a problem. Just go ahead and take opportunities.”                          

Fear
“I am not afraid to be killed or to have a problem with the police. What I'm afraid of is that when I have a certain photo, a certain story or opinion, I can't say it on the Internet. I'm afraid to lose the connection to the Internet. I am afraid that we might loose the chance to be heard.

Everyday I am in danger, everyday. I made a choice that others don’t make. If you choose to be here, to have this image, this dream, to be an activist on the Internet and speak about another solution, another opportunity, to speak about the regime or another regime, you are always in danger. But it’s your choice and when you make a choice you have to face the consequences. If you choose to go to war, you can be killed. To me, free press is like a war. You must reach victory. And I think I am a good gladiator.

I don’t have a dream, I have a duty’
“I think we can’t live without a dream. Living your life, your job, is a dream. I had a lot of dreams when I was young, but I had my family, my job, my study, everything. Now, I have lost everything. I don’t have a dream, I have a duty. I have a job to do, I have a destination to go. Every man in this world is dying and they make a good job, or they don’t. People think I’m successful, but I don’t want to be successful for myself, but for others. In Tunesia, everybody knows Slim Ayadi, but nobody really knows me. Satisfaction is my dream. Satisfaction to eat, to be with others, to speak, to learn, that is my dream.

When you use media, they only give one image. That image is we are a very secure country, we are very happy. I think that we must send another image. For a different generation, they can have the opportunity to change, in America they say ‘Yes, we can change’, but we don’t need to only say that, we have to be optimistic to change. We need that optimism. I have nothing, but making blogs, making video’s, we can make a change in the world.”

Write about reality
“I think the role of journalism is changing, and civil journalists need to make this very change. Because there is no freedom of press like in America or Europe. On CNN they only speak about the politics in Tunesia, they don’t speak about the citizens, about the reality. They only speak about events, when there’s an event there is media. But journalists can make a very, very important improvement by speaking about the people, our problems, our solutions, what we think about this politics. They need to speak about this with an iPhone or a blog. They need to go ahead and take the opportunity to see another life. Because in the future, when you’re on TV, they see everything but they understand nothing. When you see CNN there’s a lot of information, but when there’s no information, look around you, there is your information. The very beauty of being a journalist is making an investigation. To tell all of the important information. Not only on the classic media. We need to tell the real story to the world.”