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7, Jul 2018 11:33 AM
6, Jun 2018 08:49 AM
7, Jul 2018 09:32 PM
6, Jun 2018 08:30 AM

Inside Tunisia's Shams Rad

Homosexuality is both illegal and widely considered to be unacceptable in Tunisia. But since the 2011 revolution, activists have seen that standing up for their beliefs can result in change. Now LGBT people are gaining confidence and are coming out of the shadows to push for equal rights.

Posted  180 Views updated 2 days ago

The Republic of Tunisia, is a sovereign state in Northwest Africa, covering 165,000 square kilometres. It is bordered by Algeria to the west and southwest, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Tunisia's population was estimated to be just under 11.93 million in 2016. Tunisia's name is derived from its capital city, Tunis, which is located on its northeast coast. Since the 2011 revolution, activists have seen that standing up for their beliefs can result in change. Now the LGBT, which is a loosely defining organization  of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender united by social reforms are gaining confidence and are coming out of the shadows to push for equal rights. Sham Rad is the Arab world's only Gay radio station. It is fairly low budget yet professional, with enough space for seven Guests, Sponsors and contributors. The corridors are painted in the colours of the LGBT rainbow flag.
Approximately six months after the station was set up, it acquired around 10,000 listeners each week across 15 countries, and is streamed online and live via YouTube six days a week.
The station plays music and social issues are discussed in depth. LGBT contributors don't identify themselves as active on air. The Dutch embassy in Tunis is partly funding the station and after international pressure in combination with legal pressure, the station's parent organisation, Shams, was officially recognised. This is believed to be the first time any LGBT group has gained this amount of status in North Africa. It hasn't been all peaches and cream for particular social investment. People are angry the station exists. Mr Belhedi says he has received 4,700 messages of abuse, including death threats and "even imams allegedly calling for the station owner's physical assault. Gay and lesbian sex is punishable by up to three years in prison in Tunisia but things are improving. Last year, the Tunisian government announced it would stop forced anal examinations for people suspected of homosexuality. A presidential commission, the Individual Freedoms and Equality Committee, has recommended that homosexuality be decriminalised, as part of a reform package including abolition of the death penalty and greater equal rights for women. A more modest alternative proposed by the committee is, the replacement of prison terms for homosexual activity with a fine. Outside liberal metropolitan circles, the majority of people in Tunisia follow traditional cultural and religious thinking. Homosexuality is a taboo and LGBT issues are often dismissed.
In this particular writing assignment we would like to invite our verified Subscribers to participate in this writing assignment and use the following questions to generate a well written article for entry into The Blac & Bleu Book writing contest.

  • What are the religious, political and cultural beliefs of the people of Tunisia.

  • How can a radio station be used to implement change on a regional level.
  • Research and document the LGBT'S role in the funding as well as support system for the radio station as well as other individuals in the North African region.

  • What are the demographics of listeners for this particulkar radio station. Include gender, age groups, sexual orientation if possible. Feel free to reach out to the radio host's face book page in an attempt to gather information or maybe you may want to tune right in.

Remember to cite you references so as to maintain your qualification standards

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