On Saturday, Tunis airport customs officials confiscated two copies of CPJ’s annual report, Attacks on the Press, as well as five copies of the Arabic-language translation of the Middle East and North Africa section of the book from Tunisian rights lawyer Mohamed Abbou and journalist Lotfi Hidouri on their return from Morocco, the two men told CPJ.
Naziha Rejiba, editor of the
Tunisian online publication Kalima and a2009 International Press Freedom
Awardee, helped us launch the new edition of Attacks on the Press at a press conference today in Cairo.
The media in the Middle East loved the Intifada. Every detail of Israel’s violations of human rights in the late 1980s in the West Bank and Gaza appeared in the Arabic and Farsi press. The governments that owned or controlled these media outlets loved it, too. When pan-Arab satellite television stations emerged in the 1990s, they looped hours of footage of Israeli soldiers and Jewish settlers repressing Palestinians.
Top Developments • Government engineers ouster of independent journalist union leaders. • Two journalists are jailed in retaliation for critical reporting.
97: Percentage of newspaper campaign coverage that was devoted to President Ben Ali.
President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali was re-elected to a fifth term with 90 percent of the vote amid severe restrictions on independent reporting. Ben Ali’s government went after the country’s journalist union, bringing down its democratically elected board, while his police bullied and harassed critical reporters. Two journalists, one of them a leading critic of the president, were in jail in late year.
My country’s international airport—as some may not know—has become the scene of the Tunisian regime’s score-settling with its opponents. Opponents are no longer banned from traveling; this is a move to promote the idea that they are “free.” However, if they do travel, they face difficulties at the airport, port, or border crossing in question.