There is growing political unrest in Tunisia, with citizens demanding freedom of speech both on the streets and on the Internet. The Tunisian government has responded by increasing censorship and repression, using both old and new methods.
The new tactics employed by the Tunisian government have been to turn off the secure HTTPS Internet protocol that protects passwords, hijack the blogs and Facebook accounts of the civil rights activists, and delete the online content.
The old tactics have been to arrest the activists and throw them in prison. This happened last week, on January 6. Among the civil rights activists arrested were Tunisian Pirate Party members Slah Eddine Kchouk, Azyz Amami, and Slim Amamou
The European Parliament must condemn these recent actions by the Tunisian government. I will start discussing this with colleagues in the parliament this week. I am sure I am not the only member who is critical of the recent developments in Tunisia, and will want to remind the government that it must respect human rights and freedom of speech.
But the Tunisian government does not have to wait for a resolution from the European Parliament before it acts. Right now, it has a chance to avert building international criticism by releasing the arrested activists immediately, of its own accord.
Tunisia is a next-door neighbor to Europe, so developments there are an important concern to us. We want to see a Tunisia that fully respects human rights and freedom of speech, and makes efforts to become a truly free and open democratic society.
The Tunisian government should take a first step in this direction and release the arrested activists without further ado.
Al-Jazeera has a well researched article Tunisia’s bitter cyberwar, that gives the background as of last week.
Torrentfreak also explains the issue in the article Pirate Party Members Arrested in Tunisian Censorship Revolt, and writes about the arrest of the three Pirate Party activists, and the hijacking and deletion of their online accounts.
The Swedish Pirate Party has sent out a press release in Swedish condemning the arrests.