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IFEX-TMG raises question of freedom of expression violations with French president

(IFEX-TMG) - The following is a 9 July 2008 IFEX-TMG letter to French President Nicolas Sarkozy:

M. Nicolas Sarkozy
President of the Republic of France
Palais de l'Elysée
55, rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré
75008 Paris, France

9 July 2008

Your Excellency,

We are writing to you on behalf of the World Association of Newspapers and the World Editors Forum, which represent 18,000 publications in 102 countries, as well as on behalf of the 18 members of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange Tunisia Monitoring Group (TMG), to share with you our extreme concern over the serious violations of the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of the press in Tunisia, and the Tunisian authorities' tendency to resort to censorship, intimidation and violence.

Now that France has assumed the Presidency of the Council of the European Union until 31 December and you will preside over the Paris Summit on 13 July 2008 to establish the Union for the Mediterranean, it seems essential that the French government does not underestimate the seriousness of the human rights violations in Tunisia. It is furthermore essential that France adopts and promotes a policy in accordance with the values of the Republic, by inviting the Tunisian authorities to respect their international human rights obligations, specifically those in favour of freedom of expression and the press.

WAN and the TMG have documented the history of abuses of freedom of expression in Tunisia since 2003. We will be happy to provide a dossier of information and a personal briefing to you or your advisers if you so require.

With the utmost respect, Your Excellency, we remain yours sincerely,

Timothy Balding
Chief Executive Officer
World Association of Newspapers

Rohan Jayasekera
Chair of the IFEX Tunisia Monitoring Group

Members of the IFEX-TMG:

Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), Egypt
ARTICLE 19, United Kingdom
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE), Canada
Cartoonists Rights Network International (CRNI), United States
Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR), Egypt
Index on Censorship, United Kingdom
International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Belgium
International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), Netherlands
International Press Institute (IPI), Austria
International Publishers' Association (IPA), Switzerland
Journaliste en danger (JED), Democratic Republic of Congo
Maharat Foundation, Lebanon
Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA), Namibia
Norwegian PEN, Norway
World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC), Canada
World Association of Newspapers (WAN), France
World Press Freedom Committee (WPFC), United States
Writers in Prison Committee of International PEN (WiPC), United Kingdom

IFEX Tunisia Monitoring Group

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