Attack in Tunisia: the chaotic government communication

La plage de l'hôtel Riu Imperial Marhaba, à El-Kantaoui, dans la région de Sousse, est fermée suite à l'attentat perpétré contre des touristes étrangers le 26 juin (Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP).

Beach Hotel Riu Imperial Marhaba, in El Kantaoui, Sousse area is closed following the attack against foreign tourists on June 26 (Kenzo Tribouillard / AFP). Credits Photo: KENZO TRIBOUILLARD / AFP

ANALYSIS – The investigation into the attack that killed 38 on June 26 in Tunisia progresses, but several information communicated by the Tunisian government have proved contradictory, if not confused

After Sousse bombings of June 26, the Tunisian authorities’ communication was for the less chaotic. Difficult to see clearly from the arrests that took place. The information provided by the Government were unclear and even contradictory. In a first press conference on the investigation, on 2 July, the Tunisian Minister responsible for relations with the constitutional bodies, Jenboudi Kamel, said that eight people in connection with the attack were arrested. Earlier in the day, the Tunisian government yet announced the arrest of twelve people. Three days earlier, the Tunisian Minister of the Interior, Najem Gharsalli, informed that a first wave of arrests took place. What about the arrests? The Tunisian authorities have not given details. Didier Heiderich, president of the International Observatory of crises “in terrorism cases, there is always a secret share. The idea behind is to know what is protected. ”

Confusion around the nationality and number of victims

The question of the nationality of the victims also create confusion. On the evening of the attack, the Tunisian Prime Minister Habib Essid evokes the presence of French among the victims: “There are mostly British. And the Germans, and Belgians, and French. “A few hours later, the French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius will contradict this information. At the same briefing, the Tunisian Prime Minister denies the figures given earlier by the Ministry of Health regarding the victims, amounting to 38 and not 39 dead. “It’s complicated to have a toll. When there are many victims, it’s hard to count them, says Didier Heiderich. Usually announces more victims there are, because we already consider dead those who can not be saved. But it sometimes survivors. “Also, the declarations of all-out Tunisian ministers have often been made in haste in the hours following the disaster. “Any minister remains a woman or a man. And behind such an event there is a very strong emotion, which is not obvious to manage. The emotion comes alter what we mean. ”

Hasty and uncoordinated communication

Following the attack, a” permanent cell communication “will be created in order to” inform citizens and the media “, while strengthening” seamless communication “, in the words of Kamel Jendoubi. But Thursday’s press conference has nothing to transparent, the head of government failing to provide details of the arrests. Didier Heiderich, the all-clear is a utopia “. It is a transparency sham, part of opacity is necessary on issues of terrorism” According to him, Tunisia has been a communication “a bit rushed, which lacked coordination. ” But he justifies it by its recent democratic transition: “The country is emerging from years of dictatorship. The Tunisian government is relatively young, it is a new phenomenon for them. One can understand that there is coordination problems and they were not used to communicating. ”

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