Tunisia: Reputational Risk Spikes as Regional Tensions Prompt Cancelled Concerts

by | Jul 31, 2023 | Diplomacy, Political, Security, Social, Tunisia


On 30 July 2023, Congolese artist Gims (or Maitre Gims) announced on his Instagram account that he planned to cancel a concert scheduled in Tunisia due to government’s treatment of migrants. Gims is a rapper based in France with millions of fans and followers on social media.

Following the cancellation by Gims of his concert which was scheduled to take place in Djerba, two additional rappers, Bigflo and Oli, announced the cancellation of a concert scheduled to take place in Carthage. On their social media accounts, the two artists noted that they planned to postpone the concert given the “current situation” without further elaborating.

Throughout July, the international community expressed outrage over reports that the Tunisian government was forcibly relocating migrants to desert areas along the country’s southern borders with Algeria and Libya. The Tunisian Interior Minister Kamel Feki has since acknowledged that some migrants were blocked from entering Tunisia but denied allegations of mistreatment.

Meanwhile, Tunisian singer Emal Mathlouthi announced on 2 August that a concert scheduled to take place in Hammamet had been cancelled by organizers based on accusations that she had engaged in “normalization” with Israel. The singer performed a series of concerts in Israel, though she insisted her performances were for Palestinian audiences.


Tunisia’s role in controversial regional developments has created a spike in reputational risk. High profile artists with large followings have shone light on the country’s role or position on different regional issues, increasing the potential for economic and social disruptions.

If artists and high-profile activists continue to draw attention to Tunisia, particularly around the issue of irregular migration, it has the potential to drive real change in Europe. However, domestic frustration over irregular migration in Europe remains high, making any shift in current policy unlikely in the short-term.


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