Tunisia: Video-Sharing Website Dailymotion Blocked

Technology & Convergence

Omar Mestiri, the editor of the opposition online newspaper "Kalima", is the victim of judicial harassment, Reporters Without Borders said on April 11th of a libel suit that could result in a three-year prison sentence. The organisation also called on the authorities to stop blocking the video-sharing site Dailymotion (http://www.dailymotion.com), which has been inaccessible in Tunisia since 1 April.

"The lawsuit against Mestiri is absurd because it is based on an online article that cannot even be accessed from within Tunisia," Reporters Without Borders said. "But we take this case very seriously. The three and a half year sentence imposed on lawyer Mohammed Abbou in April 2005 for an article posted online showed how the Tunisian courts are controlled by the government and how a libel suit can lead to a heavy sentence."

The press freedom organisation added: "The censorship of Dailymotion's website shows that the government, which is as paranoid about the Internet as it is about the traditional press, is ready to ban tens of thousands of inoffensive videos in order to block a handful it does not like."

The blocking of the http://www.dailymotion.com site may have been prompted by the posting of a number of videos on the political situation in Tunisia.