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Tunisia: Freedom of Expression under Siege

Tunisia: Freedom of Expression under Siege

International freedom of expression organizations today expressed grave concern about the poor state of freedom of expression in Tunisia, the host country for the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), to be held in Tunis in November 2005.

A 60-page report on the state of freedom of expression in Tunisia and the conditions for participation in the WSIS was published today by the International Freedom of Expression Exchange Tunisia Monitoring Group, a group of 13 national, regional and international freedom of expression organizations, including the World Association of Newspapers.

The report, released to coincide with the second Preparatory Committee for the WSIS, in Geneva 17-25 February, sets out the findings of a mission to Tunisia by freedom of expression groups. It makes a series of recommendations to the Tunisian government to bring the country in line with international human rights standards.

The main recommendations are that the Tunisian government should release all prisoners of opinion, end arbitrary administrative detentions, end harassment and assaults on human rights activists, stop blocking websites, end censorship of books and newspapers, open up the press and broadcasting sector, respect freedom of movement, assembly and association, and allow independent investigation of alleged cases of torture by the security forces.

The International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) is a global network of 64 national, regional and international freedom of expression organisations.

The IFEX Tunisia Monitoring Group incudes: ARTICLE 19, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, the Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Studies, the Egyptian Organization of Human Rights, Index on Censorship, International PEN Writers in Prison Committee, International Publishers Association, Journalistes en Danger, Media Institute of Southern Africa, Norwegian PEN, World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters, the World Association of Newspapers and the World Press Freedom Committee.

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