“Open your eyes!”

As Tunisia writes its new constitution, civil society activists are struggling to establish the culture of transparency and promote good governance and the right to information legislation. The collective OpenGov has recently launched a new viral campaign, entitled « 7ell 3inik » (open your eyes) intended for the 217 members of the National Constituent Assembly (NCA).

To promote “7ell 3inik”, an interactive website was created. Visitors to the site www.7ell.tv are invited to submit videos and photos as well as to send messages to the NCA members in order “to wake” them up to their commitments. On the site’s homepage, OpenGov activists urge people to exercise citizen participation and to confront the urgent, and common, question : Where is Transparency?. They denounce the NCA for infringing not only its internal regulation, but also the ‘Law 41’ which imposes right of access to public documents.

Based on these dangerous infringements, the OpenGov activists, accompanied by two other associations (Al Bawssala and Nawaat) and independent citizens, have already filed a complaint in the administrative court against the NCA. According to Amira Yahyaoui, founder and president of Al Bawssala, “It is not acceptable that the constitution is being written behind closed doors. It is the constitution of the people, and every citizen has the right to know what happens in the NCA!” she insists.

The 27-year-old woman explains: “All the reports of the commissions’ works must be revealed. We need to understand the debates and the positions of the members we elected. Their votes, which are the people’s votes, have to be published too.” For Sarhan Hichri, an OpenGov activist, “There will be no democracy without transparency. He claims, “As a citizen, I want to understand the causes of the delay in the NCA work!”

Fortunately, the civil society movement is supported by some of the members inside the NCA. Fadhel Moussa, a member of the Democratic Bloc, defends the transparency inside the assembly. He reminds that the NCA adopted, in the draft constitution, the creation of a National Authority of good governance and fight against corruption. And he hopes, just like the other 10 million of Tunisians, that this authority will help to nurture democracy in the country.

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