Zouhair Makhlouf

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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

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.

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.

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.

Alerts   |   Tunisia

Prison term completed, Tunisian still behind bars

New York, January 20, 2010—An appeals court in the city of Nabeul refused today to release Tunisian Zuhair Makhlouf despite his completion of a three-month prison term imposed in October. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the court’s decision and demands authorities release Makhlouf immediately.

January 20, 2010 3:21 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Tunisia

Tunisian authorities mistreating imprisoned journalist

New York, December 11, 2009—The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned about the health and detention conditions of Tunisian journalist Taoufik Ben Brik and the flagrant and recurrent violations of his right to see his wife and lawyers.
December 8, 2009 12:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Tunisia

Tunisia jails two critical journalists and harasses others

New York, December 1, 2009The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the rising imprisonment of critical journalists in Tunisia. Harassment has been escalating since President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali threatened to prosecute anyone who casts doubt on his reelection for a fifth five-year term in office on October 25. Journalists Zuhair Makhlouf and Taoufik Ben Brik were both sentenced to jail terms in the past week. Ben Brik has filed an appeal and Makhlouf plans to, according to their lawyers. 

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