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OLPEC battles cyber censorship

The Observatoire pour la liberté de presse, d'édition et de création (OLPEC) has released a report which exposes the regulatory and technical machinations of censorship in Tunisia, and by doing so, provides dissidents with tools to protect themselves from cyber attacks and surveillance.

The report, "Tunisia: Internet Censorship, A Rearguard Battle" describes in great detail the multilayered, systematic approach Tunisian authorities have taken to control Internet traffic. It also describes the recent history of online dissent with the formation of new online magazines like "Kalima" and "TUNeZINE" and the violent response of the state. Sites were quickly blocked and online journalists have been persecuted and imprisoned.

Tunisia was the first Arab and African country to connect to the Net, says the report. It immediately became popular with dissidents and young people. In response, Tunisian authorities created an information police brigade to curb Internet access and heavily invested in content filtering mechanisms.

The cyber police decide which sites can be visited and which cannot be reached. The authorities monitor almost everyone, including government critics, ministers, ruling party members, police units and regular citizens.

The report provides a useful guide for online dissidents throughout the Arab region and may be useful for other heavily monitored countries, like Vietnam, where bloggers are regularly persecuted.

To read the full report, available in English, French and Arabic, please see:

Tunisia: Internet Censorship, A Rearguard Battle

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