In 2005, Tunisia had the honour of hosting the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), a big UN event about the Internet’s future. Yet President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali’s Internet policies are among the most repressive in the world. All the Internet cafes are state-controlled. They filter web content and are under close police surveillance. It is, for example, impossible to access the Reporters Without Borders website from inside Tunisia. The security services also constantly harass independent bloggers and opposition website editors to ensure that self-censorship prevails. One cyber-dissident, Mohammed Abbou, has been imprisoned since March 2005 for criticising the president in an online newsletter.
2005 Internet press releases:
17 November 2005 - The 15 enemies of the Internet and other countries to watch
21 September 2005 - International day of action for the release of Mohamed Abbou
26 July 2005 - Imprisoned "freedom lawyer" Mohammed Abbou begins hunger strike
7 July 2005 - "You have no rights here, but welcome to Tunisia!"
11 June 2005 - Lawyer’s prison sentence confirmed at new sham hearing
4 March 2005 - A lawyer arrested for posting an article online
3 March 2005 - Censorship tightened in host country for World Summit on the Information Society
17 February 2005 - World Summit on the Information Society - bloggers and cyber-dissidents offer advice