15 February 2012

Tunisia: Trial Over Censorship of Pornographic Websites in Tunisia Postponed

In Tunisia, at least 14 people have been killed in protests against high unemployment and high prices.And after days of unrest in neighbouring ... ( Resource: Tunisia's Press Blackout )

The hearing of the case regarding censorship of pornographic websites in Tunisia has been postponed to February 22nd, confirmed Olivia Gré, director of the Tunisian chapter of Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

Last year, a lawsuit was filed by three Tunisian lawyers, who found free access to pornographic websites in Tunisia to be dangerous to children and corrosive of Islamic values. The court's decision sided with the lawyers, yet the Tunisian Internet Agency (ATI) appealed the ruling on May 26th. On August 11th, 2011, the appeal was denied, but the ATI delayed implementing the decision, pleading technical and financial limitations.

They appealed the decision again, to Tunisia's Supreme Court, prolonging the legal debate as to the acceptable extent of internet freedom.

The ongoing trial has been handled with a good deal of discretion. During the February 1st hearing, reporters were not allowed to enter the courtroom, and afterward the ATI refrained from announcing the precise date of the subsequent hearing.

Censorship of internet pornography is not new to Tunisia. Until the evening of January 13th, when Tunisia's ousted President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali delivered his famous speech declaring that he would order an end to Internet filtering, access to pornographic websites was blocked in the country.

On February 3rd, RSF released a statement, entitled "Internet Filtering: Risks to Stepping Backwards," in which it argued that blocking porn sites in Tunisia could mark a prelude to the return of old censorship practices of the previous regime. The statement recommended that internet providers promote tools of parental control.

However, the statement maintained, imposing an automated filtering system would not prevent Tunisians from accessing pornographic websites since they "are perfectly aware of different techniques to deal with censorship."

Copyright © 2012 Tunisia Live. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.