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The start of it all: an anti-government demonstration in Tunis on 18th January 2011, a few days after President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled into exile following 23 years of tyrannical rule. © Samuel Aranda, Panos images

What happened to the Arab Spring?

A decade ago, a fruit-seller in Tunisia set himself alight, and before long dictators were falling like dominoes. Only in the place where it all began has a new democracy endured—but so have many of the problems it was meant to fix

One day in October, a cluster of mask-wearing, poster-waving protesters gathered in front of the white-domed Tunisian parliament building to object to a decree that could have normalised political interference in the media. Mahdi Jlassi, the president of the journalists’ union, criticised the bill, claiming that the lack of transparency about who financed the Tunisian media was a threat to the security of the country as well as to freedom of expression. “We are not going to accept chaos,” he told me.

“And so? What about Fox and Murdoch?” retorted Said Ferjani, an MP whose Islamist party, Ennahda, is dominant…

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