Friday, August 22, 2008

Tunisia Blocks Blogs

Three more blogs have been blocked in Tunisia this week. These blogs, Mochagheb (Disturber), Ennaqed (The Critic) and Place Mohamed Ali have all been particularly active in providing news of the struggle of The Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT), and especially about the latest social unrest in the southwestern phosphate mining region of Gafsa, where two people have been killed. One was shot dead by security forces and the other was electrocuted inside a local electric generator.

I asked the Tunisian blogger Ennaqed about the censorship of his blog in Tunisia. He said:
I think that the main reason of banning my blog is crossing the “red lines” that are constraining the media in Tunisia by talking about issues that are completely ignored by mainstream media. Last year, I was seriously engaged in covering the hunger strike of three Tunisian secondary school teachers who were expelled from their jobs for political reasons, and my blog was blocked temporarily. And like the rest of the Tunisian bloggers, I was blogging about the revolt in the mining region and recently about the prisoner swap between Israel and Hezbullah, and the remains of eight Tunisian men handed over by Israel. But, honestly, I think that the most direct reason for banning my blog might be my last blog post about the participation of an Israeli delegation in the 31st Congress of the International Geography Union (IGU) that is taking place in Tunisia. What I actually did is copy and re-post a press release about a group of Palestinian geographers who are boycotting the aforementioned conference because of Israeli participation.

On June 21 the censorship passed beyond all reason and banned the first and only podcasting Tunisian blog Radyoun (Radio) run by a group of Tunisian bloggers dedicated to discussing social and cultural topics. Apparently, the podcast debate about the sporadic protests in the poor mining region of Gasfa and about the freedom of expression led to the banning of the blog

This is a non-comprehensive list of blocked blogs in Tunisia. Please keep in mind that the list does not include blocked websites:

Citizen Zouari‬, blog of Tunisian journalist and former political prisoner, Abdallah Zouari.
The Free Pen the blog of Tunisian journalist and former political prisoner, Slim Boukhdhir. In July 2007, this blog was also hacked and deleted.
‫Mokhtar Yahyaoui‬, blog of a former Tunisian judge who was dismissed after publishing an open letter to President Ben Ali criticising the lack of independence of the judiciary.
Tunisia Watch, this blog is also run by Mokhtar Yahyaoui‬.
[fikra] blog of Tunisian activist and political refugee Sami Ben Gharbia.
Nawaat, popular group blog about news, politics, cyber-activism and Islamic reform.
Radyoun, the podcasting Tunisian blog.
Moaz Jmai. (this blog has been blocked in Tunisia where I'm writing this post)
Place Mohamed Ali (this blog has been blocked in Tunisia where I'm writing this post)
Sofiane Chourabi.
Free Race.
Samsoum .
Tunisian Citizen.
For Gafsa.
Free Word.

Read it all here.

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