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May 27, 2005

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Catherine Tamer

And Alarabya is still supposed to be a free "democratic" independent channel, a concurrent to Aljazeera. That's what people think at least..Scary!

Nur al-Cubicle

Speaking of censorship and the violence of humiliation directed against female protesters and opposition members in secular Arab nations, I saw this about Tunisia:

LE MONDE | 27.05.05 | 12h48

One of the emblematic figures in the struggle for freedom in Tunisia, journalist Sihem Bensedrine, 55, is the target of a vulgar campaign launched by the Tunisian press. Two large-circulation Arab language newspapers, Achourouq and Al-Hadath, published loud calls on May 8 and May 11 for the stoning of this woman, whom they described as a prostitute, a creature of the devil, a despicable viper and a sell-out to Zionists and Free Masons.

Sihem Bensedrine is accused of renting her backside to foreigners and Zionists, of having abandoned all human values to satisfy her sexual hunger and of selling herself to seductive adolescents and handsome young men.

This is not the first time Tunisian newspapers have engaged with impunity in a hate campaign directed against opposition figures and human rights activists. In 1993, Sihem Bensedrine was the victim of faked pornographic pictures distributed by the thousands in Tunis. These are only some of the methods used by a régime which celebrates State feminism but which doesn’t let women exercise their civil rights, especially if there are political adversaries, says Mrs. Bensedrine, mother of three.

Publisher of the on-line newspaper Kalima, Sihem Bensedrine is also the spokesperson of the Conseil National pour les Libertés en Tunisie (Tunisian National Freedom Council--not legally recognized). It is in this capacity that she is the target government reprisals and has been denied authorization to publish the newsprint edition of her paper in Tunisia. Beaten last year by the "political police", she served two months in prison in 2001 for having accused a judge and the brother-in-law of President Ben Ali of corruption.

The latest Bensedrine affair illustrates what the independent Syndicat des Journalistes Tunisiens (Union of Tunisian Journalists, UTJ) pointed out in its annual report. In its 40 pages, the report describes the "system" put in place by the Ben Ali regime to control the media: intimidation, defamation, denunciation, instructions handed to newspaper editors, "prefabricated" articles dictated by the authorities, individual harassment, etc. Never before, however, has such indecency been employed nor such a low point reached, says Lotfi Hajji, founder and president of the UTJ.

The Union of Tunisian Journalists was founded in May 2004 just after the Association des journalistes tunisiens (Tunisian Journalists Association, close to the authorities) was awarded the Freedom of The Press Prize by President Ben Ali. This resulted in the expulsion of the association from the International Federation of Journalists. This pro-Ben Ali organization continues to exist and to ravage with the full backing of the régime--just a few months away from the World Summit on the Information Society, to be held in Tunis from November 16 to November 18 under auspices of the United Nations.

Nobody

Heh... if the occupation was as bad as Raed claims, he'd be dead. Ironic? Sad? Who knows. His site is mainly just a good place to go and laugh about the absurd claims he makes. Maybe Al Arabiya deletes his comments because they are too silly, and not because they are so anti-coalition. I read two posts on his site yesterday. One was a theory that Americans were planting the bombs that kill innocent Iraqi's and the other was a claim that Iraqi's wouldn't be killing each other if Americans weren't there. You know, because Saddam never killed anybody...

Sigh.

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