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Website blocked before its official launch

(ANHRI/IFEX) - Cairo, July 20, 2010 - The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) said that on July 18th the Tunisian government blocked the website Fadaa Jadal Democraty (A space for democratic debate), , even though the site is still in the testing period and has not been officially launched. With this move, Tunisia has now regained the title of "most hostile Arab country towards the internet", previously held by Saudi Arabia. In April, Saudi authorities blocked the site of The National Assembly for Change, , 15 hours after its launch.

Visitors to the Jadal site in Tunisia were surprised to see an error message signifying that the site had been blocked within the country. The site's owners issued a statement denouncing the blocking and calling for it to be lifted.

In early 2010, thousands of internet users in Tunisia as well as supporters of the freedom to use the internet launched a campaign whose motto was "Amar 404?", after the censor in Tunisia, who has beaten all his fellow censors in the world, including Saudi Arabia's and China's, as there is no limit or logic to site blockings in Tunisia.

ANHRI said, "The Tunisian government will not give up the title 'first enemy of the internet in the Arab region', so they worked hard during the last three months to regain leadership after the Saudis enjoyed it for a while in April 2010 when they blocked the website of The National Assembly for Change in Egypt, only 15 hours after its launch. We wonder if the governments of Tunisia and Saudi Arabia are aware that this competition is pathetic."

In spite of the absence of any justification or logic to blocking sites in Tunisia, it is likely that the reason for blocking Jadal is a message by the wife of the most recent prisoner of conscience in Tunisia, AlFahim Boukadous, which was published on the site.

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