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OLPEC launches report on Internet censorship

(OLPEC/IFEX) - Tunis, 15 January 2010 - The absence of transparency in the management of public finances makes it impossible to calculate with any degree of accuracy the sums invested by authorities in Tunisia and abroad to control Internet use and block any information that might reflect negatively on the activities of those in power.

What is certain, however, is that significant resources are being invested in the monitoring of the Internet, spread over the budgets of communications and interior ministries, the ATCE and the president's office.

Many observers argue that these resources would be better spent on more productive projects, and could reduce by at least one-third the jobless rate among Tunisian graduates.

Tunisia's European partners must also bear some responsibility for their unconditional support for these policies, undertaken in the name of security and regional stability.

But most importantly it must be said that this battle, which has mobilised a veritable army of human and material resources to cut off Internet access to users and monitor their mail by violating their privacy, is a rearguard battle, lost before it began, because the technology used to circumvent censorship is developing as quickly as the one used by the censors to cast their nets, making those nets increasingly ineffective.

The purpose of this report is to provide an overview of state-sanctioned Internet censorship in Tunisia.

It was written by non-experts, for non-experts, with the aim of exposing the regulatory and technical mechanisms of censorship, but more importantly, of assisting Tunisian rights defenders by providing them with the tools necessary to understand and protect themselves against the various forms of attack they regularly come under when accessing their e-mail or surfing the Net.

But it is our hope too that it might foster a sense of citizenship as a rampart against marginalisation, particularly among young people, the largest users of the Internet.

Read the full report:
Rapport_OLPEC_censure_Internet_Eng.pdf (1062 KB)

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