Taoufik Ben Brik

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Blog   |   Tunisia

Circle of media repression widens over Tunisia’s history

A barman in a coffeehouse in Tunis switches out the official photo of former Tunisian President Habib Bourguiba, right, to one of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, after a bloodless coup in 1987. (AP/Laurent Rebours)
The escalating attacks on critical journalists in Tunisia are unprecedented since the establishment of the first Arab-language newspaper in the North African country, 150 years ago this July.

Alerts   |   Tunisia

Tunisia moving forward with restrictive bill for press

New York June 17, 2010—The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the adoption by the Tunisian Chamber of Deputies on Tuesday of a bill that reinforces an existing arsenal of legislation used to silence critical journalists. President Ben Ali is expected to sign the bill after its anticipated approval by the Chamber of Councilors. The change is unconstitutional since it violates freedom of expression as guaranteed by Tunisian constitution, according to CPJ research.

June 17, 2010 5:17 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Tunisia

CPJ condemns police harassment of Tunisian journalist

New York, May 28, 2010—The Committee to Protect Journalists is outraged that Tunisian police verbally abused and threatened journalist Taoufik Ben Brik, a well-known contributor to French newspapers and one of the country’s top critics of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. CPJ calls on the Tunisian authorities to end the campaign of intimidation and harassment against the journalist.

May 28, 2010 1:15 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Tunisia

Tunisian journalist beaten by police

New York, April 26, 2010—The Committee to Protect Journalists today called for a full and transparent investigation into the police beating of Zuhair Makhlouf, contributor to Tunisian news Web site Assabil Online

Alerts   |   Tunisia

Tunisia must end harassment of independent journalists

New York, March 22, 2010—The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Tunisian authorities to end the persecution and imprisonment of a critical journalist and to overturn a four-year jail sentence of another.

Blog   |   CPJ, Tunisia

Tunisian airport officials confiscate CPJ publications

On SaturdayTunis 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. 

Alerts   |   Tunisia

In prison, Tunisian journalist's health is worsening

New York, February 25, 2010—The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on the Tunisian authorities to immediately release journalist Taoufik Ben Brik, who is serving a six-month jail sentence, so that he can receive the medical treatment he needs.

February 25, 2010 4:26 PM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Tunisia

Attacks on the Press 2009: Tunisia

Top Developments
• Government engineers ouster of independent journalist union leaders.
• Two journalists are jailed in retaliation for critical reporting.

Key Statistic
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.

Alerts   |   Tunisia

In Tunisia, critical journalist’s appeal rejected

Ben Brik in a 2008 photo. (CPJ/Joel Campagna) New York, February 1, 2010—A Tunisian appeals court on Saturday upheld a six-month prison sentence against journalist Taoufik Ben Brik, one of President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali’s toughest critics, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists denounced the decision, the latest development in the politically motivated effort to silence Ben Brik.
February 1, 2010 3:24 PM ET

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Blog   |   Tunisia

Ben Brik, still jailed in Tunisia: 'Chains will certainly break!'

Ben Brik, center, after ending a six-week hunger strike to protest Tunisia's human rights record in 2000. (AFP)

“When people want to live, destiny must surely respond. Darknesss will disappear, chains will certainly break!”


Journalist Taoufik Ben Brik, 49, spurred admiration among his relatives and lawyers at a Tunis appeals court on Saturday when he chanted these two verses by Abou El Kacem Chebbi, Tunisia's most well-known poet. This unexpected recitation of Chebbi's verses, which galvanized resistance to French occupation and autocratic rule after the country's independence in 1956, followed the persecuted journalist’s first remarks in court about his ordeal since his incarceration on October 29. It was the first time he had been allowed to speak at his own hearing.

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