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16th January
2011
  

Tunisia Unblocked...

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Bloggers freed and websites unblocked in early days of a new interim administration

Tunisia flagEven while under curfew following the ousting of their long-serving authoritarian leader, Tunisians are experiencing newfound freedoms online as their acting president promised a new phase for his embattled land.

Filters on websites like Facebook and YouTube, put in place under former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, were dropped and Internet speed picked up considerably -- a development that followed the new government's vow to ease restrictions on freedoms.

In addition, three Tunisian journalists -- including two bloggers critical of Ben Ali -- have been freed from jail, the Committee to Protect Journalists has said.

These developments come as Fouad Mebazaa was sworn in as the country's acting leader on Saturday, after Ben Ali and his family took refuge in Saudi Arabia following days of angry street protests against the government.

 

24th January
2011
  

Update: Wrong Sided...

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Owner of Tunisian TV station arrested for supporting deposed president

hannibal tv logoTunisia has arrested the owner of a TV station and his son for grand treason for inciting violence and working for ousted leader Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali's return.

Sources said:

The owner of Hannibal TV (Larbi Nasra], who is a relative of the former president's wife, is using the channel to abort the youth's revolution, spread confusion, incite strife and broadcast false information.

The aim is to create a constitutional vacuum, ruin stability and take the country into a vortex of violence that will bring back the dictatorship of the former president.

The Tunisian news agency said Nasra and his son had been arrested to secure the nation's safety and the revolution's success .

 

27th January
2011
  

Update: Open Rapping...

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Rappers step out from the world of the banned onto Tunisia's main stage

el generalTunisia's previously banned and popular rappers are now able to step out of the virtual world and onto the stage.

Hassled by the authorities and scorned by producers, the artists who gave voice to the anger that spilled into protests that toppled Zine El Abidine Ben Ali are now courted by music houses and making videos in plain sight.

Hamada Ben Amor, better known on the web as El General, was arrested on January 5 at the height of the wave of unrest that has come to be known as the Jasmine Revolution. He spent several days in detention.

He had shot to Internet fame with the song President, your people are dead , a dig at Ben Ali's corruption-accused authoritarian dictatorship that became an anti-establishment anthem for thousands.

Amor said he has since received recording offers from international and national production houses. The young rapper has also been invited to perform on Saturday at the 10,000-seater El Menzah stadium close to Tunis.

Also billed for the show is another performer who had until recently been only virtual, the thoroughly more inflammatory Mohammed Jandoubi, alias Psyco-M, who was Tunisia's number one Net rapper last year. He controversially pushes the theory of a US-Zionist plot to destroy Islam. He questions the morals of Tunisian television and cinema personalities, attacking those in miniskirts dressed like Naomi Campbell and has already earned himself a charge of defamation earlier this month.

 

30th January
2011
  

Update: Foreign Media Censor...

Tunisia dismantles part of Ben Ali's censorship regime

Tunisia flagTunisia has disbanded an agency which acted as an effective censor of foreign media during the rule of ousted president Zine al-Abdine Ben Ali.

The External Communications Agency will be replaced by an independent body that will help coordinate with foreign media but will not interfere in their output.

The move is part of the interim government's efforts to roll back the restrictive policies of Ben Ali, who strictly controlled the media during his 23-year rule.

 

27th February
2011
  

Update: New Brooms, Same Old Design...

Journalists strike in Tunisia over continued government censorship

Tunisia flag Journalists and technicians from Tunisia's state-run television broadcaster have gone on strike over continued government censorship.

We are on strike demanding an end to all the pressure and to stop the censorship, and to allow us to work freely ... We will not accept restrictions anymore, one of the striking journalists told Reuters.

Tunisia's First National Television channel remained on air on Saturday, but without news programming.

First National's striking workers are demanding new managers.

 

28th February
2011
  

Update: Books Unbound...

Book censorship relaxed in post revolution Tunisia

la regente de carthage Tunisian bookshops changed dramatically after the January 14th revolution swept former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali from power. Books that were once banned and covertly brought into the country are now being displayed freely.

I couldn't find a copy of La Régente de Carthage which exposes the corruption and influence of Leila Ben Ali on Tunisian political and economic life, student Suha Bin Mustapha told Magharebia at the El-Kitab bookstore in Tunis: I am now making a request to reserve a copy that the owner said would be available by the end of the month.

Tunisia's interim government on January 22nd lifted licensing restrictions on the importation of books, publications and films, opening the floodgates to foreign media. The constraints were imposed by the Ben Ali regime to control the flow of information.

Lifting restrictions on importing books is a key demand that has been called on by voices of enlightenment, modernity and the democracy of culture and knowledge in Tunisia, said Moktar Kalfaoui, a writer for the website Alawan.

In the past, possessing these books meant persecution, losing a job, or even imprisonment, according to bookstore customer Nora.

In previous years, the Tunisian International Book Fair earned a poor reputation because of strict censorship imposed on imported works, forcing exhibitors to focus on cookbooks and fiction.

The Tunisian culture ministry used to claim that it only prohibited books that promoted religious extremism and terrorism. But there were several complaints from Arab and foreign publishers regarding the ban on political themes. In the end, many just didn't bother to attend the fair.

 

28th May
2011
  

Update: As Bad as the Old Lot...

Tunisia soon returns to old censorial ways

Tunisia flagA Tunisian court has ordered porn sites to be re-blocked

Porn sites became accessible in Tunisia when censorship was lifted in January, following the collapse of the authoritarian regime of President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, and quickly became among the most popular websites visited by Tunisians.

Since censorship ended in January, seven porn sites have appeared among the 100 most visited websites in Tunisia, with five in the top 50, the Tunisian internet site Business News reports.

But last week three lawyers filed a suit in a Tunisian court, claiming that pornographic websites were a danger to Tunisia's young people and ran contrary to Muslim values, Agence France-Presse reports. The court ordered the Tunisian Internet Agency (ATI) to re-block all X-rated websites.

Update: Resigned

2nd June 2011. See article from monstersandcritics.com

A renowned Tunisian blogger who was imprisoned during the country's Jasmine Revolution announced his resignation from the country's interim government, apparently in protest over the resumption of internet censorship.

Slim Amadou, 23, minister for sport and youth, announced his decision on the Twitter social networking site: I confirm, I have resigned. Only the administrative formalities remain, he wrote. He did not give any explanation.

However, later he had told the country's private Express FM he intended to resign, after authorities barred four users' accounts on social networking site Facebook. The government was acting on the orders of a military tribunal, which ordered the accounts closed after the four Facebook users allegedly accused army chief of staff Rachid Ammar of plotting a coup.