A court hearing of a case regarding censorship of pornographic websites in Tunisia has been postponed to February 22nd, confirmed Olivia Gre, director of the Tunisian chapter of Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
Last year, a lawsuit was filed by
three Tunisian lawyers, who found free access to pornographic websites in Tunisia to be dangerous to children and corrosive of Islamic values. The court's decision sided with the lawyers, yet the Tunisian Internet Agency (ATI) appealed the ruling on May
26th. On August 11th, 2011, the appeal was denied, but the ATI delayed implementing the decision, pleading technical and financial limitations.
They appealed the decision again, to Tunisia's Supreme Court, prolonging the legal debate as to the
acceptable extent of internet freedom.
On February 3rd, RSF released a statement, entitled Internet Filtering: Risks to Stepping Backwards , in which it argued that blocking porn sites in Tunisia could mark a prelude to the return of
old censorship practices of the previous regime. The statement recommended that internet providers promote tools of parental control.
Update: Blocking Blocked
23rd February 2012. See
article from tunisia-live.net
The Tunisian Internet will remain unblocked, for the time being. The Supreme Court of Tunisia has cancelled the decision of a lower court, which had previously ruled in favor of blocking pornographic content on the internet.
The decision did
not end the case, but sent it back to a lower court, giving an apparent vote of no confidence in the legal argumentation previously presented.
The decision was immediately hailed by free speech advocates and by the Tunisian Internet Agency (ATI).
The ATI's legal argument against the suit, however, did not hinge upon issues of civil liberties, but rather the technical ability of the agency to implement the decision. According to a press release distributed by the ATI this afternoon, all
attempts of application of judgment led to serious degradation of service.
Olivia Gre, director of the Tunisia office of Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said: For us, it's definitely good news. It means not taking a step backwards .
According to Gre, the trial would begin from scratch, with new legal arguments to be employed in two to three months.