Tunisian online protest blocked

As Tunisia prepares to host the controversial World Summit on the Information Society in November, tunisia freespeechTunisian opposition activist Neila Charchour Hachicha informs Global Voices that the online freedom of speech protest site launched by Tunisians on Monday, www.yezzi.org has already been blocked by the Tunisian authorities.

The online protest, called “Freedom of Expression in Mourning,” is organized by The Tunisian Association for the Promotion and Defense of Cyberspace (Association Tunisienne pour la Promotion et la Défense du Cyberespace). Here is how they describe the protest and its motivations:

The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) will be held in Tunisia from 16th to 18th November 2005.


* A World Summit on the Information Society cannot have any concrete impact on the world community, if the main concern of such a Summit, which should be the human being, remains relegated to a simple accessory.
* Experience showed that concerning information issues, top level international meetings have never led to positive measures to make public's rights effective to get free access to information.
* Dictatorships similar to that of the Tunisian General Ben Ali, use the information's restrictions as a strategic pillar conscious that without restrictions their tyrannies would fail.
* Continuous impunity of tyrants, who violate on a daily basis the right of their people to freedom of expression, shows that apart NGO, it is illusory to count on “democratic” governments to support the right of free access to independent information.
* Finally, if there's a stake in the World Summit on the Information Society, it should not only be about reducing the “digital gap “, but it should be about reducing the evil that corrode peace in the world which is the “democratic gap”.

Therefore throughout the WSIS and in order to get the attention of the Tunisian and the International public opinion to the cruel absence of freedom of expression and information in Tunisia, and the obvious incoherence between the principles of this world summit and its hosting by the violent and repressive Tunisian regime, a working group has been gathered under the sponsorship of the Tunisian Association for the promotion and defense of the Cyberspace (TAPD – Cyberspace) in order to launch the campaign:

“Freedom of Expression in Mourning!”

This campaign starts today, October 3, 2005, and will end with the closure of the World Summit on the Information Society. Within the framework of this campaign, we will immediately start an initiative defined by the following actions:

* Since we are physically unable to demonstrate within Tunisian public spaces, we will use the internet to organize permanent virtual demonstrations in order to express our total disapproval with the Tunisian dictatorial regime.

Visit their website to view the online protest and contribute materials. The site is trilingual: French, Arabic and English. (Scroll down to the bottom for the English.) You are also invited to download a badge and link it to their site in support of the cause.

UPDATE: Activist Neila Charchour Hachicha has written a long post on her blog about the situation. An excerpt:

Allthough most protesters are anonymous the regime censored the website in Tunisia the same day it was launched. If it proves something, it does prove that the regime is much more frightened then the 100 virtual protesters.

So finally, who is more powerfull? Is it anonymous but free citizens claiming their right to be discontent or is it a frightened regime supposed to hold a strong legitimacy?

In reality it is only when a regime totally lacks democratic legitimacy that it badly needs to be authotitarian and violent. But when people really want freedom and democracy, sooner or later they just get it!

Dear readers, you are all invited to support us in this initiative since freedom of expression and democracy are no more local causes but universal causes in which any one can engage regardless of his nationality or his religious belonging. All human beings deserve dignity. All human beings deserve freedom and democracy. It is the only and unique way to avoid terrorism and violence whether they are legally justified or not.

She encourages people everywhere to participate in the online protest.


  • Thank you Rebecca for your interest in our cause.

    Nevertheless freedom of speach and democracy must be universal causes, so I invite any person willing to support us in this very pacific initiative to send a photo even anonymously with only a name or a nickname to manif@yezzi.org to say with us “Enough is Enough”

  • John Blake

    “Embarrass the UN”? Nothing embarrasses the UN… and if anything did, no matter how extreme, this feckless and massively corrupt organization would be incapable of any coherent response other than to have Kofi do a Hotel Rwanda in due time.

    Why bother to chronicle –we will not say “report”– this stuff? When Ted Turner donated a billion (count ’em) dollars some time back, I believe a conference or two of anti-Semitic ravings in South Africa and Indonesia consumed the entire wad. How is this possible? It is like the bowl of noodles supplied to the Emperor of the Sung, which by the time Mandarins and Eunuchs took their cut amounted to $100,000 per bowl. So dynasties perish, and deserve to do so.

    “Embarrass the UN”– tears must be watering down their daiquiries. As for actually advancing their putative goals, never mind acting responsibly in any category whatever… forget it. Ten years from now, if these maleficent blowhards even exist, we guarantee there will have been no change.

  • […] Via: Global Voices Online Rebecca MacKinnon […]

  • CNN Arabic published the info about Yezzi.org


    If hundreds of sites talk about it, how many sites will the Tunisian regime censure?

    Help us spread the World

  • […] Here is the link to the transcript (Arabic) of Arab TV Al Jazeera program about http://www.yezzi.org. The title of the program was “What’s behind this news: Tunisians are protesting on the Net” and the subject was: “Can a virtual action on the Net have an impact on the real political life?” (and there is also an audio link). [Hat Tip: Neila Charchour Hachicha] […]

  • […] bloggers and activists supported by sympathizers, organized a successful online campaign around Yezzi Fock Ben Ali (Enough is enough, Ben Ali) a “Freedom of Expression in Mourning!” campaign, the entire […]

  • […] bloggers and activists supported by sympathizers, organized a successful online campaign around Yezzi Fock Ben Ali (Enough is enough, Ben Ali) a “Freedom of Expression in Mourning!” campaign, the entire […]

  • […] bloggers and activists supported by sympathizers, organized a successful online campaign around Yezzi Fock Ben Ali (Enough is enough, Ben Ali) a “Freedom of Expression in Mourning!” campaign, the entire […]

  • […] des sympathisants, avaient organisé une campagne remarquée de mobilisation en ligne, “Yezzi Fock Ben Ali” (ça suffit, Ben Ali),  une des campagnes de “La liberté d’expression en deuil […]

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