In this article we argue that examining efforts at Internet reform in Tunisia holds important lessons for transitional justice theory and practice, as well as for the way the field defines itself in a space where technology plays an important role facilitating both repression and transitions. Given the impact of the Tunisian revolution in inspiring the Arab uprisings, as well as those elsewhere, a close examination of the Tunisian revolution offers many lessons in understanding the transition away from authoritarian government: here, we focus specifically on what the Tunisian process of Internet reform can tell us about the increasingly-institutionalised implementation of the transitional justice framework. This process is particularly notable because it has been informed by transitional justice goals and discourse while remaining outside of the formal mechanisms implemented in the wake of the revolution. This paper sheds light on the more flexible and responsive ways in which local institutions and activists might approach transition, including through attempts to memorialise the impacts of a regime or conflict; build trust; incorporate diverse voices in new partnerships; and manage the international dimensions of post-conflict reconstruction. Finally, given the central role of the Internet both as a tool for repression and as a site of resistance and democratic engagement, our findings indicate the importance of future work considering how transitional justice can begin addressing Internet governance as a vital aspect of conflict resolution and rebuilding.
- Internet governance
- transitional justice