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Website blocked soon after its launch

(ANHRI/IFEX) - 26 October 2010, the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) expressed deep resentment over the blocking of the website of the Tunisian Observatory for Union Rights and Freedoms, http://www.otdls.org , a few hours after its launch. The Tunisian government gave no specific reason for the decision to block the website, asserting instead the steady policy of blocking opposition internet sites.

The Tunisian government, along with the Saudi government, top the list of those who swiftly block websites in the Arab world. The Tunisian government often blocks sites only hours after their launch without checking the content. The visitors to the site of the Tunisian Observatory for Union Rights and Freedoms were surprised at the blocking of the site just 11 hours after its launch. The site contained no content critical of the Tunisian government or of any government. The blocking of the site gives the impression that there is an intention to restrict civil society activities in Tunisia.

In July 2010, the Tunisian government blocked the Jadal site, http://www.jadal.eu , while it was in the pilot phase. The arbitrary nature of the site blocking drove thousands of Tunisian internet users and activists to launch the campaign "Amar 404". Amar is a censor who surpassed all other censors worldwide in swiftly blocking sites for no particular reason and with no legal basis.

ANHRI said, "The Tunisian government still insists on using its blocking policy to silence opposition voices. The government was not satisfied to top the list of countries most hostile to the Internet for years, but also insists on seizing the 'swiftest blocking' title from Saudi Arabia, so they blocked the website of the Tunisian Observatory without justification."

ANHRI denounces the lack of reasoning and regulations for site blocking in Tunisia and condemns this continued restriction on freedom of expression. The Tunisian League for Human Rights has been under siege for five years and now the website of the Tunisian Observatory has been blocked for no reason.

ANHRI warns the Tunisian government against toppling all laws, legislations and international conventions and indulging in silencing its opponents and restricting public freedoms. These policies negatively affect Tunisian relations with the EU, as well as other international relations.

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    A message from journalist AlFahim Boukadous's wife, which was published on the site, may have led to the blocking, ANHRI said.



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