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Interior Ministry interferes with distribution of opposition newspapers

(ANHRI/IFEX) - The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) condemns the rising incidence of freedom of expression violations. The violations which have been taking place show no sign of ending soon. The latest of these abuses was an order issued by the Tunisian Ministry of the Interior. The minister ordered the printing presses responsible for printing opposition newspapers to hand over all issues of these publications to the Tunisian Company for Distribution.

Accordingly, the boards of the "Al Mawqef", "Al Tariq Al Jadid" and "Moatenun" newspapers decided not to publish their newspapers for a week in a joint stance calling for the government to retreat from its new illegal measures. The editors of the three newspapers issued a joint statement in which they said that "the government suppresses opposition newspapers to force them to close down."

The press, journalists and bloggers in Tunisia are facing unprecedented limitations. This latest measure deprives the opposition parties of receiving issues of their own newspapers. This is a barefaced interference by the authorities in the business relationships between printing houses and newspapers, one that can only be interpreted as an attempt to suppress press freedom, to prevent the fair distribution of newspapers and to interrupt the opposition press in order to financially choke it.

Gamal Eid, ANHRI's executive director, said, "This new procedure is a new move in the government's campaign against all dissenting or opposing voices. The government is working to choke the voice of opposition parties."

ANHRI called on the Tunisian government to stop all repressive practices against freedom of opinion and expression.

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