Two Websites Victims of Hacking Attacks in Tunisia

Digital Content

The independent electronic publication Tunisnews ( http://www.tunisnews.net ) has announced that its site was the target of a hacking attack on 5 November 2008, and that the administrators of the site have succeeded in overcoming the attack. The Tunisnews site was the target of a similar act of hacking last April, which rendered it inaccessible for several days.

Also on 5 November, the site of the opposition Progressive Democratic Party ( Parti Démocratique Progressiste, PDP - http://www.pdpinfo.org ) was the target of an act of sabotage that completely destroyed its archives. The images illustrating the articles were replaced with the skull of a pirate. It is the fourth time this year that the PDP's site has been the object of such an attack.

This past October, the online webzine "Kalima" ( http://www.kalimatunisie.com ) was also attacked and its content completely destroyed. The site of opposition activist Moncef Marzouki ( http://www.moncefmarzouki.net ) was also hacked.

Ongoing acts of filtering and destruction of email boxes of journalists and human rights activists have intensified over the past months, particularly targeting users of Yahoo mail. As well, a number of blogs have been censored.

The Observatory for the Freedom of Press, Publishing and Creation in Tunisia (OLPEC) notes that these acts of Internet hacking coincide with remarks made by the prime minister in a 3 November speech marking the opening of the annual symposium of the ruling Constitutional Democratic Rally (Rassemblement Constitutionnel Démocratique, RCD).

In his statements, the head of state called for the consolidation of control and censorship of the Internet in the name of "protecting the democratic process, political stability and the fight against terrorism."

OLPEC denounces these attacks on free expression and believes the main beneficiary of these types of attacks to be the Tunisian regime, which persists in its desire to gag all free voices.

OLPEC expresses its solidarity with the administrators of the two sites and urges them to continue their mission of informing the public about all issues that may inconvenience the regime.

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