While Ben Ali`s regime is over, another family business seems to be collapsing, the media one. And it is not that of state-owned channel TV Tunis7 -which was always and very clearly the mouthpiece of the regime- but that which is the real money-maker, i.e Cactus Prod, the giant media production company founded in 2002 by Belhassen Trabelsi, the former first lady`s brother.
Blog portal Nawaat has dealt with the issue of the power that Cactus Prod used to have over the state-owned TV which used to commission all its prime time cash&audience-making shows to the Trabelsi`s company, turning it into the real monopolist of Tunisian media.
Now, as a consequence of the fall of Ben Ali and Leila Trabelsi`s regime, it seems that the company`s bank accounts have been frozen. Sami Fehri, a very famous TV presenter who co-owns the company at 50% with Trabelsi, is reported to have publicly declared that he was forced by Belhassen to enter in a business partnership with him.
The news has not been verified yet but, in any case, it is helpful to show us another very important side of the former “neo-liberal” regime, i.e. that every new business brought up to the country by the so called globalisation and neo-liberal era was at the benefit of a closed elite circle, pretty much that of the ruling family relatives and friends. Another evidence that the liberalization benefits were in the hands of few selected people while a mirage for the majority of the Tunisians, as well as for many other Arabs who in other countries of the Region do share the same situation.