The IFEX Tunisia Monitoring Group (TMG) has launched a new website detailing the state of free expression in Tunisia and challenging the government to end Internet blocking in the lead-up to the November 2005 World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).
The TMG, a coalition of 13 free expression organisations, says Tunisia should show its commitment to upholding the principles of freedom of expression by ceasing the practice of blocking news and information websites that are critical of the Tunisian government. From 16 to 18 November 2005, Tunisia will host the second phase of the WSIS, a UN-sponsored summit aimed at bridging the digital divide between rich and poor countries.
"The information society of the future must be founded on free expression," says Steve Buckley of the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC). "That principle has been accepted by the governments of the world in preparing for the summit. It is intolerable that the host nation, Tunisia, remains a significant violator of free expression."
The free expression organisations have documented systemic Internet censorship by Tunisian authorities. According to the TMG website - http://campaigns.ifex.org/tmg - government censors routinely block access to at least 20 websites that provide independent news and analysis about human rights and political issues in Tunisia. They include kalimatunisie.com, tunezine.com, tunisnews.net and reveiltunisien.org.
The TMG says the credibility of the WSIS will be seriously compromised unless Tunisia takes immediate measures to improve free expression conditions.
Visit the TMG website: http://campaigns.ifex.org/tmg
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The members of the TMG include:
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression
Egyptian Organization of Human Rights
Index on Censorship
International Federation of Journalists
International PEN Writers in Prison Committee
International Publishers Association
Journalistes en Danger
Media Institute of Southern Africa
World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters
World Association of Newspapers
World Press Freedom Committee