28 décembre 2009

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TUNISNEWS

9 ème année, N° 3506 du 28.12.2009

 archives : www.tunisnews.net  


Liberté et Equité: Maatoug El Ir, ex prisonnier politique, a été écroué à la prison de Mornaguia AFP: Sénégal: un Tunisien expulsé de France en « observation administrative » RFI: Yassine Ferchichi en grève de la faim Press Afrik: En détention à Dakar : Yassine Ferchichi en grève de la faim, Tunis dénonce la décision de Paris AFP: Tunisie : décès d’Habib Bourguiba junior

AP: Tunisie: décès du fils Bourguiba Xinhua: Tunisie : une secousse tellurique de 3.2 degrés dans le sud-ouest

The Initiative For an Open Arab Internet: One Social Network With A Rebellious Message

Le Temps: Les avocats d’ « Al Hak Maâq » suspendus d’exercer Hend Harouni: le peuple de gaza a le droit de vivre


Liberté pour le Docteur Sadok Chourou, le prisonnier des deux décennies Liberté pour tous les prisonniers politiques Liberté et Equité Organisation de droits humains indépendante 33 rue Mokhtar Atya, 1001, Tunis Tel, fax : 71 340 860 Adresse : liberte.equite@gmail.com Tunis, le 28 décembre 2009  
[…]

2)Maatoug El Ir, ex prisonnier politique, a été écroué à la prison de Mornaguia

Vendredi 25 décembre 2009, Maatoug El Ir, ex prisonnier politique, a été écroué à la prison de Mornaguia. Il sera déféré devant la sixième chambre du Tribunal de Première Instance de Tunis, le jeudi 7 janvier 2009 pour y répondre de l’accusation de collecte de fonds non autorisée.

3)Le comité tunisien de protection des journalistes appelle à une grève de la faim en soutien aux journalistes Zouhaïer Makhlouf et Taoufik Ben Brik

Le comité tunisien de protection des journalistes a appelé […] les journalistes en Tunisie et à l’étranger à observer une grève de la faim en solidarité avec les journalistes Zouhaïer Makhlouf et Taoufik Ben Brik le 5 janvier […] Pour le bureau exécutif de l’Organisation Le président Maître Mohammed Nouri (traduction d’extraits ni revue ni corrigée par les auteurs de la version en arabe, LT)


 

Sénégal: un Tunisien expulsé de France en « observation administrative »

AFP – 28.12.2009
DAKAR — Le Tunisien Yassine Ferchichi, que Paris avait choisi d’expulser le 24 décembre vers Dakar plutôt que vers Tunis, est pour l’instant « en observation administrative au Sénégal », a-t-on appris lundi de source proche du ministère sénégalais de l’Intérieur. M. Ferchichi « est en observation administrative au Sénégal, en attendant qu’une décision soit prise par les autorités (sénégalaises) le concernant », a déclaré à Dakar une source proche du ministère sénégalais de l’Intérieur, précisant que le Tunisien n’était pas détenu, mais « caché » quelque part. A Paris, l’avocat de M. Ferchichi, Me William Bourdon, et plusieurs associations avaient exhorté la France à ne pas l’expulser vers la Tunisie en raison de menaces de tortures. Les autorités judiciaires tunisiennes ont démenti samedi l’existence de tortures en Tunisie et dénoncé la décision de Paris. Selon la même source sénégalaise, M. Ferchichi a refusé de s’alimenter, pendant deux jours, après son arrivée à Dakar dans la nuit du 24 au 25 décembre, car il exigeait un avocat avant de parler. Mais « il a cessé la grève de faim qu’il avait entamée le 25. Depuis hier (dimanche), il a recommencé à manger. L’état général de sa santé est normal », a assuré cette source. « Il a été interrogé et nie formellement être membre d’un mouvement ou d’une association terroriste », a-t-elle ajouté. Arrêté à Paris en 2005, M. Ferchichi avait été condamné en 2008 à 6 ans et 6 mois d’emprisonnement pour association de malfaiteurs en relation avec une entreprise terroriste, peine assortie d’une interdiction définitive du territoire français. Selon l’un de ses avocats, Me Joseph Breham, M. Ferchichi avait été arrêté et torturé en 2004 par la police politique tunisienne et a été condamné à deux reprises en Tunisie par contumace, sur le fondement de la loi antiterroriste de 2003, pour un total de 32 ans d’emprisonnement.

 


Yassine Ferchichi en grève de la faim

Sénégal / France Le Tunisien Yassine Ferchichi, expulsé de France vers le Sénégal le 24 décembre, juste après sa sortie de prison, a entamé une grève de la faim. Condamné pour association de malfaiteurs en association avec une entreprise terroriste, sa peine avait été assortie d’une interdiction du territoire français. Mais ses avocats avaient exigé qu’il ne soit pas renvoyé en Tunisie où il risquerait la torture. D’où le choix du Sénégal par les autorités françaises, choix contesté par Yassine Ferchichi et les organisations de défense des droits de l’homme.
(Source: le site du Radio France Internationale le 28 decembre 2009)


En détention à Dakar : Yassine Ferchichi en grève de la faim, Tunis dénonce la décision de Paris

Imbroglio autour de l’expulsion du ressortissant tunisien de la France vers Dakar. Yassine Ferchichi qui est entre les mains de la direction de la police judiciaire depuis jeudi le 24 décembre dernier refuse de s’alimenter. Il a entamé une grève de la faim pour dénoncer son expulsion vers Dakar, une destination qu’il n’a pas, selon lui, choisi. Yassine Ferchichi a aussi refusé catégoriquement de parler à la police en l’absence de son avocat. Au moment où ce ressortissant tunisien soupçonné de terrorisme et interdit de territoire par la France met les autorités policières et judiciaires sénégalaises dans une délicate posture, celles de son pays sont sur la défensive. En effet, le gouvernement de la Tunisie a publié un communiqué dans lequel il fustige la décision de Paris. Il a aussi démenti l’existence de tortures dans leur pays. « La torture n’existe pas en Tunisie qui a ratifié la convention des Nations Unies contre la torture faisant de l’inviolabilité de l’intégrité physique et morale et du respect de la dignité humaine des individus un principe fondamental de son système judiciaire », ont indiqué les autorités de Tuinis. Interdit de territoire en France parce que suspecté d’être un terroriste, Yassine Ferchichi a été expulsé jeudi vers le Sénégal. C’est son avocat, Me William Bourdon qui a demandé à Paris de ne pas l’expulser en Tunisie en raison des menaces de tortures. Une assertion qui a irrité les autorités tunisiennes qui ont estimé que « les déclarations de Me Bourdon ne sont étayées par aucune donnée objective et constituent des allégations mensongères visant à induire l’opinion en erreur ». Arrêté à Paris en 2005, M. Ferchichi a été condamné en 2008 à 6 ans et 6 mois d’emprisonnement pour association de malfaiteurs en relation avec une entreprise terroriste, peine assortie d’une interdiction définitive du territoire français. Selon Me Joseh Breham, M. Ferchichi avait été arrêté et torturé en 2004 par la police politique tunisienne et a été condamné à deux reprises en Tunisie par contumace, sur le fondement de la loi antiterroriste de 2003, pour un total de 32 ans d’emprisonnement. Jean Louis Djiba le Lundi 28 Décembre 2009 (Source: www.pressafrik.com le 28 decembre 2009)


Tunisie : décès d’Habib Bourguiba junior

28/12/2009-[19:32] – AFP TUNIS, 28 déc 2009 (AFP) – Habib Bourguiba juniorr, fils unique de l’ancien président tunisien Habib Bourguiba, est mort lundi à Tunis à l’âge de 82 ans, a annoncé l’agence tunisienne TAP. Habib Bourguiba jr, qui sera enterré mardi au cimetière Sidi Abdelaziz à la Marsa, dans la banlieue nord de la capitale, était né à Paris de la première épouse de son père, la Française Mathilde Le Fras. Juriste de formation, il avait été ministre des Affaires étrangères et ministre de la Justice. Il avait été également ambassadeur à Washington, à Rome puis à Paris quand son père était au pouvoir de 1956 à 1987. Il était également le fondateur en 1971 de la Banque de développement économique de la Tunisie, qui a joué un rôle important dans l’essor économique du pays en drainant de nombreux capitaux étrangers, dont ceux des pays du Golfe. Il avait aussi créé l’Ecole nationale des science de l’informatique et l’Institut de recherche des sciences informatique de Tunis.


Tunisie: décès du fils Bourguiba

AP | 28.12.2009 | 20:51 Habib Bourguiba Jr, fils unique du premier président tunisien Habib Bourguiba, est décédé lundi à l’âge de 82 ans, a-t-on appris auprès de sa famille. Selon la même source, il était souffrant depuis plusieurs mois et ses apparitions publiques étaient devenues rares depuis le début de sa maladie dont la nature n’a pas été précisée. Dans un message de condoléances adressé à la famille Bourguiba, l’actuel président tunisien Zine El Abidine Ben Ali a salué « les qualités du défunt, son parcours militant, son sens aigu du patriotisme et la compétence dont il a toujours fait preuve dans l’accomplissement des missions qu’il a assumées à tous les niveaux professionnels et politiques ». Né à Paris du premier mariage du « père de l’indépendance » tunisienne avec la Française Mathilde Clémence Lorain devenue Moufida après s’être convertie à l’islam en 1958, Bourguiba Jr a été ministre des Affaires étrangères de 1964 à 1970, puis ministre de la Justice la même année. Il fut le premier ambassadeur de Tunisie à Washington du temps du président John Fitzgerald Kennedy et également ambassadeur à Rome et à Paris. En 1976, le président français Valéry Giscard d’Estaing l’avait fait grand officier dans l’ordre de la Légion d’honneur. Marié à Neïla Zouiten, fille d’une grande figure de l’Espérance sportive de Tunis, le doyen des clubs omnisports tunisiens, il laisse trois enfants Moez, Mahdi et Meriem. AP

Tunisie : une secousse tellurique de 3.2 degrés dans le sud-ouest

Publié le 2009-12-28 20:43:46 | French. News. Cn TUNIS, 28 décembre (Xinhua) — Une légère secousse tellurique a été enregistrée, la nuit de dimanche à lundi au gouvernorat de Gafsa, dans le sud-ouest de la Tunisie, a annoncé lundi l’Institut national de la météorologie (INM) dans un communiqué. Cette secousse, précise l’INM, qui est d’une magnitude de 3.2 degrés sur l’échelle de Richter a été enregistrée, à Gafsa (340 km au sud ouest de Tunis). Selon les premières analyses des stations sismologiques relevant de l’INM, l’épicentre de la secousse a été situé à 34.47 degrés de latitude et 8.73 degrés de longitude. La secousse a été ressentie par les habitants de la région.


The Initiative For an Open Arab Internet

One Social Network With A Rebellious Message

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
 
This is the third report for the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), on the freedom of internet use in the Arab world. The report, which comes three years after the second report, tackles the issue of freedom of the internet use in 20 Arab countries including Somalia and Mauritania. This is nine more countries than the first report, The Internet In the Arab World…A New Place for Repression, and two more than the second report, An Unyielding Opponent: The Internet and the Arab governments. In addition, this report looks at four tools (blogs, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter) provided by the internet during the past years. The final part of the report is about how the Arab internet activists used those tools, in addition to the usual means, in their struggle for democracy. ANHRI thanks its team of researchers who worked on this report. Also, we would like to thank all the researchers, journalists, Arab bloggers and some Arab officials, who preferred to stay anonymous, for their help in providing statistics, data and have helped in many ways ANHRI and its researchers to complete this study. Thanks also to Abeer Soliman, the director of the programs unit at ANHRI, Sara Abdel Ghany, Ibtsam Talab and blogger, Mohammed Khaled (of the blog Demagh Mac), for their efforts, ideas, comments and assistance in this research. This report is the fruit of the cooperation between ANHRI and the Arab Human Rights Fund. The Arab Human Rights Fund has funded, supported and encouraged ANHRI. It has also helped ANHRI in this report by discussing how to develop and widen its scope. The organization’s help is deeply appreciated.  

Facts and Numbers

 
Communications and Internet in the Arab world as of 2009 • Number of Arab internet users: 58 million. • Number of mobile phones in the Arab world: about 176 million. • Number of landlines in the Arab world: about 34 million. • Number of Facebook users in the Arab world: about 12 million. • Number of Arabic blogs: about 600,000, active blogs: 150,000. • Largest number of internet cafés and cyber clubs: 16,000 in Algeria. • Largest number of internet users: 15 million in Egypt. • Least number of internet users: 60,000 in Mauritania. • Countries most intensely using Facebook: Egypt, Lebanon and Algeria. • Highest number of mobile phone lines: 7.5 million, in UAE. • Highest percentage of internet users, compared to population: 2.86 million in UAE, i.e. more than 50% percent of the total population. • Countries most intensely monitoring internet: Saudi Arabia and Tunisia. • Countries most repressive of internet activists: Egypt. • Best countries dealing with internet: Lebanon and Algeria. • Best country in internet services: Morocco. • Countries most intensely tapping communications: Lebanon and Egypt. • Countries hosting majority of extremist sites: Saudi Arabia. • Countries hosting majority of secular sites secular: Morocco, Lebanon and Egypt. • Best communities of online bloggers and activists: Morocco. • Countries most intensely using YouTube: Egypt. The internet in the Arab world has a snowball effect; now that the snowball is rolling, it can no longer be stopped. Getting bigger and stronger, it is bound to crush down all obstacles. In addition, to the stress caused by the Arab bloggers, a new forum was opened for Aran activists; Facebook. Arab activists have been using Facebook in the utmost creative way to support the democracy movement in the region, a region that has one of the highest rates of repression in the world. Unlike other regions where oppressive countries (like China, Iran and Burma) represent the exception, oppression can be found everywhere in the Arab world. The number of Arab internet users interested in political affairs does not exceed a few thousands, mainly represented by internet activists and bloggers, out of 58 million internet users in the Arab world. As few as they are, they have succeeded in shedding some light on the corruption and repression of the Arab governments and dictatorships. The Arab governments have tried numerous ways to silence those activists with no success. So, now these governments stand helplessly in front of the power of these activists and the support they have gained from the public. Getting Back at Journalists and Bloggers Arab governments and their security agencies have been censoring and cracking down on traditional mass media such as newspapers (TV stations and satellite channels) seizing newspapers’ issues and stopping the emissions of TV channels. However, it’s hard to have the same control over the internet. The Arab governments can only ban or block a website after its content has been published, usually through RSS feature. Even if the website is bloc, governments cannot block its information; it can be found on other websites or blogs. For these frustrated governments, the only way to stop bloggers or activists is to punish and prosecute them. In fact, the number of the prosecuted and assaulted bloggers and internet activists largely outnumbered journalists, who also face the government’s repression. The difference between these two forms of repression is that journalists are penalized prior to publishing or airing their material, by simply seizing publications or not airing TV show, while bloggers and internet activists face repression after posting their work on the internet. Internet activists represent the largest number of prisoners of conscience in many countries, like Egypt, Syria and Tunisia. Substantial Profits and Development Losses It is very rare to find an Arab government without a ministry for communications and information. There is always a ministry that monitors this sector that includes internet and telephone services, both landlines and mobiles. This sector represents to the Arab governments a profitable business and whatever side affects it has, the citizens using to express their opinions and protest politically, it can be dealt with by the security agencies. The security agencies filter web content, block websites, tap phone lines and punish any rebels to the rule of the government. Regardless of the statements issues or the conferences organized by the ministries of communications, Arab governments do not have a genuine interest in using this new technological revolution to create and develop a diversified, documented and reliable Arab content on the internet. For example, Telecom Egypt’s revenue for the first nine months of 2009, ending in 30/9/2009, is 7742 million Egyptian pounds achieving a 3 % increase from the same period last year. The gross profit was 4175 million Egyptian pounds making a net profit of 2576 million Egyptian pounds in only nine months . At the same time, the Ministry of Communications threatened to take penal measures against mobile phone companies trying to offer cheaper service for its clients . In addition, there were around 100 cases of abduction and torture, and rape against internet activists in 2008. Therefore, Arab states don’t develop or participate in making technology but rather consume it. In a study issued by one of the leading centers in political and strategic research in the United States, RAND Institute, it was stated that « the information revolution is real, and there is a small chance that this revolution would reach non-democratic communities. In these communities, this technology faces dictatorship that either abandons information technology and communication in their countries lagging behind, or allows this technology putting their regimes at the risk of withering away. In fact, the autocratic regimes have no choice but to give in and make way for the technology wave” . A few Arab governments are striving to catch up with this technological revolution and become associated with it, such as the UAE and Kuwait. However, the aspiration of these governments is to increase the number of websites or increase their content. They miss that the technological revolution is measured by the change induced in society at cultural, and political, social and economic level. Nevertheless, this objective was achieved successfully by Arab internet activists. This was stated in RAND Institute study: « The information revolution is not a game where you can pick and choose. All countries, nations, cults and cultures should be able to gain the fruits of this revolution. The fundamental part of the information revolution, the indispensable part, is freedom of expression, exchange of information and a universal access to information.” Of course, the greatest hypocrite would not claim that the Arab governments respect or support freedom of expression or the right to access and circulate information. Consequently, the gap between Arab governments and internet activist s is widening day after day. Governments are satisfied by taking the role of a policeman after these activists, while the activists are striving, through the use of the internet, for a democratic life.  

Tunisia

 
Taming the Internet Overview Since its independence in 1956, Tunisia has made considerable achievements in education, health care and women’s rights. Tunisia has succeeded in establishing a rare kind of political and economic stability in the Arab region. These achievements were not paralleled with any political reform that match what Ben Ali described as the “maturity of my people,” in the announcement of November 7th, 1987, the date of his “medical” coup on Bu-Rgeiba. In fact, Tunisia is ranked as one of the most repressed countries in the Arab world and worldwide. The Constitutional Democratic Congregation, the ruling party and heir to the New Free Constitutional Party, still dominates political life since the thirties of the 20th century. The ruling party is steadily pushing towards more political prohibition and isolation, undermining and aborting all reform efforts exerted by opposition parties, labor unions or civil society institutions. Connecting to Internet In 1991 Tunisia was the first Arab country to introduce the Internet. The service, however, was not made available publicly until 1996 under strict measures. Net café customers were required show their ID cards and net café computers registered all user activities. Log files provide evidence of customer visits to “dangerous sites” and may be held legally responsible and face long prison terms according to Presidential Decree 501 issued on 14/3/1997. Chapter 13 of the Decree states that “the minister of communications is entitled at all times to monitor compliance with the terms and use of services through authorized assistants at any time and by any available means ”. Net café license owners bear full legal responsibility for monitoring their clients. Moreover, law 75, known as the Anti- Terrorism Law, included chapters that classify freedom of opinion the use of symbols, pictures or slogans to refer to a personor organization, calling for a demonstration or meeting or writing articles as terrorist actions. Tunisia currently has over 3,200,000 Internet users, 46,000 of whom subscribe to the services provided by 12 Internet companies , owned by influential figures, such as Global Net and Plant which are managed by Ben-Ali’s two daughters. This monopoly rendered it difficult to Internet users to complain about these companies’ poor services which include sudden service interruption without explanation or justification, in addition to monitoring information exchange. These practices prompted users to wage a virtual war against monitoring and censorship. In July 2008 a number of Tunisian bloggers created a Facebook group that called upon the Tunisian authorities to end restrictive practicesNovember 4th a national free blogging day . In July 2009 the same group launched the White Blog campaign demanding e-media freedom to liberate e-media . In the same month, rights’ activists Salah Eddin Al-Jurchi and Mohamed Al-Kumani addressed an open letter to Ben-Ali requesting his personal intervention to end Internet censorship. Blocking, Piracy and Sabotage Internet conditions in Tunisia are no better than those of freedoms, particularly political and press freedoms. Internet users suffer even more than politicians and reporters if they happen to be ordinary citizens with no protection or immunity from legal proceedings. In their book « The Regent of Carthage: The Hand Clasping Tunisia, » French reporters Nicolas Beau and Catherine Graciet criticize the power enjoyed by the family of Ben-Ali’s wife Leila Trabelsi. The reporters say: « The Interior Ministry has dedicated a center In Slambu, a suburb to the north of the capital Tunisia, to monitor the Internet. Site blocking, piracy and vandalism represent a systematic policy in Tunisia. In addition to sites and blogs blocked for years, such as Tunis News, Fajr News, Kalima, PDP Info which speaks on behalf of the Democratic Progressive Party, Nahda Info,Judge Mukhtar al-Yahyawi’s Tunisia Watch blog, Nawah and Sabil Online, as well as the personal sites of political opponents, such as Al-Monsef Al-Marzuki, and sites of international human rights organizations, including ANHRI and RSF. The list of blocked sites is updated according to how « dangerous » their content is deemed. The Tunisian Education Investor site was blocked in September 2009 right after posting a downloadable pdf link to the book « When I discovered that Tunisia is No Longer a Country of Freedom ». On the other hand, Tunisian authorities are annoyed by the popularity that social sites enjoy as they provide space for venting and alternative forums for freedom of expression. In September 2008 Ben-Ali « intervened » to allow Facebook in Tunisia after the authorities blocked it for no declared reason. Ziad Al-Hani, member of the Tunisian National Reporters’ Union Executive Board, filed a lawsuit against the Tunisian Internet agency’s decision to block Facebook . On the other hand, the Tunisian government blocked video exchange applications, such as YouTube and Daily Motion alleging the presence of pornographic content. Some « disrupting » sites are continuously hacked. In 2007 and 2008 at least 16 hacking incidents were monitored. Almost all users who suffered hacking accused the Tunisian government. In 2009 the sites of Al-Monsef Al-Marzuki and Fajr News were hacked and stopped operating for several days. In addition to blocking and hacking, sites and blogs are still prone to vandalism through advanced piracy techniques where sites are hacked and their content completely deleted in the absence of means to secure it. The Tunisia Watch blog, for example, was hacked in September 2009, all posts were deleted and judge Mukhtar Al-Yahyawy lost years of work. Yahyawy was dismissed after publishing a letter to Ben-Ali requesting judiciary independence guarantees . The blog of Ziad Al-Hani was blocked tens of times. He had to create new blog each time to deliver the message to the maximum number of readers and visitors. The Facebook Curse As previously mentioned, it took a presidential intervention to allow Facebook in Tunisia. However, this did not put an end to the pressures to which users are exposed. Tunisia witnessed the first Facebook-related case in July 2009 when Khadija Al-Arfawi, a university professor, was convicted of distributing foreign publications that stir the public and sentenced to eight months in prison. Al-Arfawi had only forwarded a warning against child kidnapping in Tunisia to some of her friends on Facebook. On the other hand, activists, independent reporters and political opponents, including Jamal Al_Hani, Salim Baja, Ziad Al-Hani, Bassam Bounnini, Mokhtar A-Yahyawi and Italian refugee and businessman Fawzi Al-Mahbuli, accused the Tunisian government of hacking their Facebook accounts . The government used Facebook to defame and ridicule opponents by faking accounts in their names then using the account to defame state figures to taint opponents, in additions to threatening messages, defamatory posts and insulting articles, an original Tunisian authority technique. Using the Internet to settle scores Tunisia’s security authorities, since the growth in the number of Internet users, have resorted to building sites to defame opponents, rights activists and indepentreporters. Administratos of such sites, such as the Belmakshuf and Biladi sites, usually use aliases. While a number of pro-regime journalists use their real names as is the case in the Kelma Hurra and Assyasiya sites. Well-known female activist and Tunisian journalist Sihem Bensedrine accuses media figures close to power of attracting and containing young reporters who had been working at her e-paper Kalima and using them to defame her and other opposition figures on the Internet. . In July 2009 a group of opposition and civil society figures, including Sihem Bensedrine, An-Nahda movement leader Rached Al-Ghanouchi and lawyer Radia Al-Nasrawi denounced the « Tunisian government’s defamation campaign launched through private newspapers and suspicious websites financed by public funds. ». Signatories of the statement declared their « intention to resort to international justice in countries that enjoy independent judiciaries to pursue the offenders regardless of their positions.” . Another case demonstrates how various authority wings use the Internet to settle scores. Salim bin-Baga’s blog, hosted on the French site Bakchich , and which is usually in Tunisia, was unblocked for several days when Salim disclosed a social scandal related to Ben-Ali’s son-in-law, who some people consider the most prominent potential successor to Ben-Ali. Internet Prisoners Tunisian authorities released lawyer and activist Mohamed Abbu on 24 July 2007. Abbu was framed for « physically assaulting a female colleague, » following a series of Internet articles he had published in 2004 where he criticized Tunisia’s human rights record. The authorities banned him from traveling for two years after his release. After a worldwide campaign Abbu’s name was lifted from the travel ban list and added to the list of government opponents to be targeted by defamation e-campaings. The authorities also released blogger Ali Ramzi Bel-Tibi after two years in prison after he was convicted of joining a fundamentalist group because he visited sites classified as « inciting violence. » Bel-Tibi is still pursued and watched by Tunisia’s security authorities. In addition to imprisoning retired university professor Al-Arfawi, as previously mentioned, in May 2009 a Tunisian court sentenced Mariam Al-Zawagi to six years in prison in accordance with the Anti-Terrorism Law. Prosecution accused 22-year old Mariam of belonging to a terrorist group. Her lawyers said she had only visited some sites and collected donations for victims of the Israeli offensive against Gaza in December 2008 and January 2009.  

Arabic Blogs

 
Overview It never occurred to the Arab regimes , being as repressive as could be, that their ambitious plans to modernize the communications infrastructure to attract and increase investments in information technology and increase the number of internet users, will back fire. Those plans have resulted in a generation of bloggers and internet activists that bitterly criticize those regimes and stand against various violations and corruption and push forward for change. Blogging started in 1999, it began to spread and have impact since spring 2003 with the American invasion of Iraq. Arabic blogs emerged in 2004. Starting in 2005, they were widely spread with the start of a political movement in the region and calls for change and reform, in which bloggers have played a prominent role and took part in advocating for change and raising political awareness, especially in Egypt, Tunisia and Syria. Egyptian bloggers took the initiative, and were able to stretch the margin of freedom of expression in defiance to the Egyptian regime, by discussing political and social issues were considered previously as taboos. They managed to break the fear among a large segment of internet users, mostly young people and encourage them to positive political participation. Blogging in the Arab world The number of Arabic blogs, according to the report of the Information Decision Support Center of the Egyptian cabinet, is about 490,000 until mid-2008 Arabic blogs are hosted on different websites most important of which iswww.blogger.com, which is owned by Google. In addition, to websites likewww.wordpress.com, the websitewww.maktoobblog.com, an Arabic website that hosted in mid-2009 more than 91,000 blog from all Arab countries . As well as, some other websites that provide blogging service, such as Elaph, Jeeran , Katib, the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information and the blogs of the famous couple, Manal and Alaa. According to estimates of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, which specializes in freedom of expression in the media and the internet, there are about 600,000 Arabic blogs. However, the active blogs are actually no more than 25%. Arabic blogs can be classified quantitatively and per country. Egypt has the largest number of blogs that make up one third of the Arabic blogs, followed by Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Morocco. The blogging space is divided between the community of Egyptian secular bloggers and reformists and another that represents a gathering of writers supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is defined as « illegal » and banned by the Egyptian regime. Yet, it can be found repeatedly on the internet through young bloggers who declare their membership of the group and express their ideas spread through blogs and launch campaigns to defend Muslim Brotherhood detainees. In addition to other blogs that belongs to the Brotherhood that varies between literary and social blogs. The Egyptian bloggers aim to break the political constraints through their blogs, which are renowned for its bitter criticism of the government in spite of the government’s repression on them. In Saudi Arabia, blogging is focusing on personal rather than political matters. In Kuwait, the majority of blogs are in English. The Syrian blogs are quite similar to Saudi Arabia when it comes to the topic. The Moroccan blogs use a mix of the Arabic and French language. However, some bloggers who discussed political issues and revealed corruption cases served prison terms in Syria, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia. Arab bloggers use Web 2.0 and they link their blogs in various websites such as YouTube , Wikipedia and news websites such as Aljazeera.net and the BBC, followed by Al-Arabiya, and most recently the social networking website Facebook. The age group that most widely uses blogs is between 25 -35 years amounting 45% of the Arab population. The Arab bloggers over 35 years are 9%, while females represent 34% of Arab bloggers.The highest ratio for female bloggers compared to male bloggers is in Egypt in the age group from 18 to 24 years, amounting 47% and the proportion of female bloggers in Saudi Arabia is 46% of Saudi bloggers . 83% of the Arab bloggers live in their homeland and often use aliases, especially among female bloggers. In general, Arab bloggers write about local political issues and criticize the ruling regimes. They also discuss personal and religious issues which are among the main issues discussed and debated on Arab blogs. Human rights issues are also one of the most common issues discussed on blogs. An issue that all Arabic blogs and all Arab bloggers are all against is siege of Gaza, and the Israeli attack on Gaza, in December 2008 -January 2009. Arabic Blogs: Voice Of The Voiceless Blogging helped the various religious groups to emerge and represent their case to the Arab public opinion. For example, the Baha’is have used blogging to display their case and the defend their religious freedoms. The most famous Baha’i blog is An Egyptian Baha’i,http://egyptianbahai.wordpress.com, owned by an Egyptian young man in his thirties born in a Baha’i family. In his blog he discussed the problems facing him particularly obtaining official papers as well as lack of tolerance and resentment he feels when he declares that he is Baha’i. The blogger, Randa El Hoassani, her blog: http://rands1957.spaces.live.com/blog, is an Egyptian Baha’i activist. She was born in Port Said in a Baha’i family of the fourth-generation. In 1972, She was imprisoned when she was 14 years, for a month, with other Baha’is for contempt of religions Blogging has also helped the emergence of a number of codes for homosexuals since 2006, which allowed gays to express themselves and their point of view and confirm their presence in the Arab and Muslim communities in a realistic way rather than the stereotypical image that novels and films have been feeding the public over the years, prior to internet.The most famous of such blogs are: •http://gayweekly.blogspot.com/ : a Kuwaiti blog •http://saudigayboy.blogspot.com/ : a Saudi blog • The blog Kareem Diaryhttp://kareemazmy.blogspot.com • Diaries of a lesbian woman. Cases disclosed by bloggers Arab bloggers managed to play a key role in the political field pressuring the authority to act on several issues, such as torture in Egypt which became an attitude during the reign of Hosni Mubarak. It is practiced by police officers against citizens as punishment or to extract confessions or just as a show of power. Bloggers revealed incidents of torture and posted videos that show police officers torturing people in police stations. The most famous scene is the torturing of Emad AlKabir, a driver, who was tortured and raped with a stick by the police officer, Islam Nabih. The scene was recorded with a cell phone to humiliate Emad between his friends and neighbors. The scene propagated till it was posted on several blogs at the end of 2006. Among those blogs was that of Wael Abbass,www.misrdigital.com. Satellite media and the printed press were forced to discuss this incident , which turned to a public opinion case. The case ended with an unprecedented verdict; the officer Islam Nabih and Reda Fathi, the secretary of police, were sentenced to 3 years in prison . Other issues that bloggers have recorded and also turned to cases of public opinion: • The issue of sexual harassment in Egypt; the blogs of Wael Abbas and Malek Mustafa ,http://malek-x.net posted videos of sexual harassment, that occurred in downtown Cairo during Al Fitr feast in 2006, displaying of groups of girls being harassed. The videos stirred a lot of debate on satellite channels and newspapers, and resulted in highlighting the failure of police in protecting victims of harassment despite their presence in large numbers downtown at the same time of the incident. The Egyptian Ministry of Interior tried to deny those incidents even existed but a number of eyewitnesses and bloggers brought undeniable evidence that made the ministry take preventive measures . • In Morocco, the blogger, Targuist Sniper, managed to disclose corruption of Moroccan police and the Moroccan Royal Gendarmerie in 2007, where he recorded a number of bribes – receiving scenes and posted them on YouTube , after which they spread on blogs and were debated on international media. Unfortunately, this blogger was targeted by the police in Morocco. •The success of the Algerian blogger, Rahalia whose job is sorting newspaper articles and delivering them to the Algerian Parliament Media Commission. As simple as it may seem, his job allowed him to access the archive of officials’ announcements, decisions and related articles leading him to arrive at contradictions, manipulations and lies of official statements. He started writing articles on a limited scale on the internet uncovering those lies. Those articles, were all over the Algerian cyberspace and were successful to bring about change. Rahalia addressed the president himself, through his highly credible articles and documented writings, demanding him to freeze « the hydrocarbon law”, a project to privatize the state oil companies. The president announced before the cabinet that he was sure that this law was full of irregularities • Other countries also witnessed a significant role for blogs in highlighting events and important political crises, such as Darfur crisis. The blog, Shabab Darfur, is one of the main sources that displayed the real situation in Darfur. • Marahin blog ,http://saltowayyah.katib.org/, in Oman, and Mowaten Emarati ,http://emarati.katib.org/, in the UAE, as well as the famous blog of Mahmoud Youssef in Bahrain (http:/ / mahmood.tv /) as well as Moroccan blog; Ahjiouj. Examples of violations against Arab bloggers The Arab world is of the worst regions in the world in internet monitoring. Arab bloggers and activists are detained, prosecuted and even tortured. Arab countries are always on the list of internet enemies prepared by Reporters Without Borders. In its report of 2009, which included 12 countries in the world defined as “internet enemies”, 4 Arab countries were listed: Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Syria. There are dozens if not hundreds of bloggers who have been arrested and detained under the emergency laws, and even abducted and tortured, including: • The Egyptian blogger Ahmed Mohsen, 26 years, owner of the blog: Fatth Eineik ,http://eyestillopen.blogspot.com, who was arrested in May 2009 and charged with “abusing the democratic atmosphere to overthrow the government » . ANHRI described this charge as a black comedy. •The Moroccan blogger; Mohammed Al Raji, was convicted and sentenced to prison because of an article he wrote that criticized royal behavior which he considers encouraging people to be reliant and passive. • Karim Arabji, from Syria, he wrote an article criticizing the Syrian authorities. Consequently, on 13/9/2009, Karim was sentenced to three years in prison for « spreading false news that weakens the sentiment of the nation”. •The Saudi, Fouad AlFarhan, is one of the famous bloggers. His blog is entitled Dean of Saudi Bloggers. He is known for his elegant writings and serious advocacy for reform in his blog ,http://www.alfarhan.org. His slogan is « in search for freedom, dignity, justice, equality, Shura , and all Islamic lost values for Raghad and Khattab ». He was detained by Saudi authorities for five months without charges and was never put on trial. Afterwards, he was released without giving any reasons for his arrest or release. • Rafat AlGhanem, a Syrian blogger living in Saudi Arabia, was arrested in July 2009 by Saudi security, without justification, and is still detained. And many more: •The Egyptian Mossad Abu Fajr, owner of the blog,http://wednane3ish.katib.org/, is one of the main callers to stop discrimination against the Egyptian Bedouins of Sinai. Several charges have been fabricated against him by security. After investigations, the general prosecutor released him. Yet, security services arrested him again under the emergency law and he is still detained till this date in spite of more than 15 release orders that have been issued • Abdel Moneim Mahmoud, a blogger and journalist, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, was arrested, tortured several times and banned from travel. He was arrested allegedly for “disrupting public security”. The Arabic Network believes that the most important cause for detaining Moneim Mahmoud is to smear the good image of any member of Muslim Brotherhood group not what the government is claiming. In his blog, Moneim displays a different profile than the one provided by the government. He defends secularism and different ideologies, reveals torture crimes and participates in campaigns to support freedom of expression. Such an image is one which the Egyptian government is not willing to reveal . Some Egyptian bloggers are still detained , the most famous case is the blogger Kareem Amer, who was arrested in November 2006 and sentenced in February 2007 for 4 years; 3 years for insulting the Islamic religion and 1 year for insulting the President. Kareem should be released in November 2010. He is serving his sentence at Borg Al Arab prison in Alexandria. Kareem Amer has been tortured in prison and is still subjected to harassment. He was deprived of visits several times in 2009. In 2007, an Egyptian judge filed a case for blocking 51 blogs and websites on the internet, claiming they were terrorist websites and detrimental to the state, the police and the President. This law suit is an attempt to block all blogs and websites that revealed the judge’s theft of ANHRI report on the freedom to use Internet in the Arab world in 2006. The case has been refused in December 2007 . In Tunisia, in August 2008, the Tunisian blogger; Zied El Heni, filed a lawsuit against the Tunisian Internet Agency for blocking Facebook until the website was unblocked on 2/9/2008. Under the spotlight: Sami Ben Gharbia Quiet a character, an intense blogger, and a strong defender of democracy. He managed to turn the internet into a tool to resist the autocratic regime in Tunisia. A lot of Arab bloggers followed him and non Arabs learned from him. He is inspiration to many since he is so creative in using the internet to expose oppression and corruption of the Tunisian dictatorship. His story started by escaping from Tunisia through Libya, Niger, Chad, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Iran in order to finally reach Netherlands, where he received political asylum . This is Sami Ben Gharbia , the Tunisian blogger, creator of the map of Tunisian prisons , in which are used many Internet techniques in which he excels in order to show the cruel penal policy, which rendered Tunisia among the top states in the number of prisoners per population. The Tunisian government denied all punitive practices. However, the truth that Ghariba uncovered show that there are two version of Tunisia; the first Tunisia is the green one where tourists enjoys, provided that they shut up completely and have money, the other one is the a big prison for all opponents and human rights activist or even those concerned with the country. Second Tunisia raises some questions, where an answer will not be found, but rather silencing the mouth that uttered the question. Sami Ben Gharbia uses the Internet creatively to expose corruption and the dark side of Tunisia. He introduced a film that traces the Tunisian presidential plane and its suspicious use in things not related to state affairs. No wonder, Ben Gharbia has become a target for campaigns of slander and for fierce attack from the Tunisian government officials, agents, informants in overseas embassies. By launching such campaigns they convey the message to their masters in Tunisia, they are doing their homework, no matter how these campaigns would lack sincerity or credibility. Some official told Gamal Eid, executive director of the Arabic Network for Human Rights, « Sami Ben Gharbia is a sincere young man who loves his country. He does not create or fabricate any of these scandals, he only reveals them » . Ben Gharbia also revealed that, Ezz Al Din Hammadi, director of the tourist office at the Tunisian Embassy in Washington, reserved the domain name of presidential campaign of 2009 for the candidate Zein El Abidine Ben Ali since 2004, precisely 25 days only after the « victory » of Ben Ali in the presidential elections held on 24/102004. As well as logging more than 80 domain names mostly all related to media, political and tourist structures in Tunisia! Ben Gharbia considered this the first semi-formal appeal to President Ben Ali to get nominate .    

Facebook

 
Background Were Facebook a state it would have been the fourth largest in terms of population. It is ruled by a 25-year old. Mark Zuckerberg did not realize the major leap he had created online, particularly within the so-called social networks when he participated with his university colleagues at the time Dustin Moskowitz and Chris Hughes who majored in computer science to establish the Facebook as a social network in 2004. He then allowed in members from the universities of Stanford, Colombia and Yale. Thus, the site expanded and opened up to all of Boston’s schools and Ivy League universities. Gradually, it became accessible to many universities in Canada and the United States. On 26 September 2006 the site opened its doors to all individuals aged 13 or older who have working email addresses. Membership then expanded until it included over 250 million users worldwide in July 2009. In October 2008 Facebook administrators announced the choice of Dublin, Ireland, as an international headquarters. Facebook Nature and Characteristics Facebook is a Web 2.0 social networking website. Membership is free. It is run by Facebook Limited Liability Company. Users can join city, work, school or regional networks to communicate and interact with others. Users can also add people to their friend lists and send messages, as well as update their personal files and introduce themselves to friends. Facebook has a number of features that allow users to communicate with each other. These features include the « Wall, » a space on each user’s profile page that allows friends to send different messages to the user. There is also the « Poke » feature which allows users to send a poke to attract attention to each other. It is a notification to the user that a friend is greeting them. The « Photos » feature enables users to download albums and photos from their computers to the site. The « Status » feature allows users to notify friends of their whereabouts and what they are doing at any given moment. Any user who can view another’s profile can also view their wall depending on the privacy settings. In July 2007 Facebook allowed the possibility of attaching messages that contain more than just text to the wall. Over time, Facebook started adding many new features. On 6 September 2006 the News Feed was announced. The News Feed appears on the Home page for all users, highlighting some information, such as changes to user profiles, upcoming events and user friends’ birthdays. This feature was initially met with dissatisfaction, as some complained of poor organization and unwanted data, while others expressed fears that this may facilitate tracking their personal activities, such as changes in their relationships, various events and chats. In response, Zuckerberg apologized for the site’s failure to provide appropriate features that can help maintain the privacy of individuals. Since then, users have the ability to control the type of data they share spontaneously with friends. Moreover, users can prevent their friends from viewing updates regarding specific activities, such as profile changes, their wall messages and recently added friends. The Facebook Notes feature was introduced on 22 August 2006, a feature related to blogging that allows the addition of marks and images. Users were later able to import blogs from Zhanga, Live Journal, blogger and other blogging sites. During 7 April 2008 week, Facebook launched an application that allows instant messaging to communication networks using the Comet program. It was called Chat and allows users to communicate with their friends. It is similar in function to desktop instant messaging (chat). Facebook currently ranks fifth globally in terms of user visits. It is also among the most famous sites in terms of image upload which reach up to 14 million pictures daily. A few months ago many countries started recognizing Facebook in courts. In December 2008 the Supreme Court of the Australian capital’s County acknowledged Facebook as a valid protocol to serve court notices to defendants. This may be the first court ruling worldwide that recognizes summons served through Facebook as legally binding. In March 2009 New Zealand’s Supreme Court judge David Gindal authorized Axe Market Garden Company to submit the legal papers incriminating defendant Craig Axe through Facebook. On the other hand, in Italy, the emergence of pro-mafia groups caused the State concern. This led the government, following a brief debate, to hasten to issue a law that would require ISPs to restrict access to entire sites in case the sites refused to remove illegal content. The Attorney-General can require such deletions in case a site is suspected of publishing « incriminating statements, whether in defense or as incitement to crime. » The Senate approved the amendment on February 5, 2008, which is expected to be approved without change by the Senate’s other legislative body before becoming effective immediately. Facebook and other sites, including Google, criticized this amendment stressing its dire consequences for the freedom of expression for those users who did not violate any laws. Characteristics of Arab presence on Facebook The increasing demand on Facebook among Arab youth, particularly after the introduction of some modifications and adapting it to allow the use of the Arabic language contributed to the increase of its use in the Arab region. Facebook contributed to the success of the 6th April Movement strike which started with a Facebook group as its communication capacity exceeds all that provided by classic Internet communication means, such as Messenger, mailing groups, forusm etc. Facebook allows the highest levels of communication. The number Arab users on Facebook until September 2009 approached 12 million , a large number for a site that was not known to Arabs before 2006. Following are the most important uses of Facebook in the Arab world: 1. Entertainment Facebook fulfilled public need for entertainment and communication due to the magnitude of interesting applications. Some very successful groups emerged which achieved great popularity at the level of entertainment. As example is the group called « Sorry, Shombongo!! The Egyptian Campaign in Favor of the Speaking Monkey, » the members of which reached 17,637. It is a group that mocks the ads of a mobile phone company. Another example is a group called « Doomsday Newspaper Headlines, » which makes fun through imagining the headlines of Egyptian government, opposition and independent newspapers on Doomsday. 2. Politics and religion The other side of Facebook use is directed toward a social nature, which tends to be either political or reform-minded in the Arab world. The religious use of Facebook may preach and advocate for religion, recall its teachings when dealing at the virtual environment level, or urge people to do good and practices relief activities that aim to help the poor and those in need. There is a growing trend within Facebook to invest it in relief and charitable work. This trend moves toward achieving charity objectives, such as providing the poor with appropriate winter clothes, donate blood, feed the poor and contribute to associations and organizations that help the poor. For example, there are groups called « I, too, want to do good, » « Humanitarian action for good, » and « Palestinian Medical Relief. » There are those who use Facebook to achieve a social goal under a religious banner. There is also an overlap between political and relief activists who raise the Islamic banner, and activists who raise a purely religious banner. Christian Arab Facebook members rarely mix the religious and the political. However, it is not rare to find Christians raising the relief banner. For example, there different groups were created under the name « Everything but God’s Prophet, » the members of which reached 192,009, the « Jesus Christ » group the members of which reached 32,506, or the group « Each good deed receives a ten-fold reward. » Some groups that support some current issues were created, such as the Muslims for Andrew and Mario, in addition to groups that disagree with Muslims Brotherhood, such as the group « We don’t want the Muslim Brotherhood. » Facebook as a virtual environment for freedoms Facebook offered great potential as it has created a virtual environment for activists to exercise their freedoms. Thus, Facebook had an obvious impact on Arab public opinion. It has become some governments’ arch « enemy » as they failed to control it, particularly that is has become one of the main tools and platforms upon which political powers and activists relied to enrich the spirit of enthusiasm among users in general, and youth in particular, as the group that uses the Internet most. Egypt’s 6th April Movement as a model Egypt was among the Arab first countries to use Facebook. The Egypt network includes about 845,000 members. It is the third site most visited by Egyptians. Facebook affected Egypt’s political life after some youth announced their solidarity with the workers’ strike on 6th April 2008. They adopted journalist Magdy Ahmed Hussein’s idea of a general strike in Egypt not restricted to workers only. The movement started by forming groups to spread the strike idea through messages. A young Egyptian female called Israa Abdel-Fattah created the group where she called for the 6th April 2008 strike. Over 71,000 persons joined the group. On the other hand, a young man called Karim al-Sayyad created another group called « Yes to Gamal Mubarak » rejecting the strike idea and supporting Egypt’s President’s son Gamal Mubarak. The 6th April Group enjoyed incredible success whereas the group supporting Gamal Mubarak failed painfully. This prompted some of Egypt’s opposition parties and movements to support the strike idea , such as the Real Estate Tax employees’ movement, the education sector administrative and education movement, Egypt’s Bar Association and the university professors’ 9th March Movement, in addition to some intellectuals, bloggers and Internet activists. The strike idea spread in a short time throughout Egypt under the slogan: « Stay at home. » They also called for demonstrations in several places in Cairo, Alexandria and Mehalla. A number of members were detained about the strike. The reactions of human rights organizations to the movement varied. Egypt’s ruling party on Facebook The ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) realized the importance of the Internet as a weapon which has become a chronic headache, particularly after it sparked the famous strike, the 6th April Movement and the movement against succession or those opposed to the NDP. Thus, new counter-groups emerged that started a dialogue and debate about the nomination of Gamal Mubarak for president, including the following: – Yes or no to the Gamal Mubarak for president – Gamal Mubarak, why not? No idea before? – Mubarak is the best currently to rule Egypt, and Gamal to succeed him. Express your point of view – Who wants Gamal as president? – Why not Gamal for president? Due to the novelty of the use of Internet as a means to promote the ruling party in Egypt, the results are not clear yet. However, the experiment itself shows its reputation and impact which may prompt other Arab parties and ruling regimes to follow the pro-democracy movement example, particularly after the success in adding this site to the most significant tools for change and political struggle. Blocking Facebook Some countries prohibited Facebook access due to its nature that allows free entry and use to everyone. Governments used to depriving their people of freedoms or tools that support these freedoms, it was blocked in Syria under the claim that some citizens use it to incite campaigns against the authorities. Moreover, the Syrian government announced it feared Israeli infiltration of social networks In Syria through Facebook! It was surprising that the dictatorship in Tunisia allowed Facebook without restrictions. It quickly remedied that reverting to its habit and blocked Facebook in August 2008. In response, a journalist filed the first lawsuit of its kind in Tunisia demanding that Facebook be unblocked before the Tunisian president issue directions to allow access to Tunisian users. A spokesman for the UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority announced the prohibition of Facebook’s dating section, while allowing access to other sections. The Palestinian cause on Facebook It was logical for Facebook to become party to the historic conflict between the Palestinians and the Israeli occupation, as was the case with other important sites on the Internet. Facebook recently began to play an important political role. It became a new arena for this political conflict on the Palestinian cause. Yediot Ahronot wrote that Jewish settlers were angered that Facebook listed them as residents of Palestine, prompting the site to allow users to change that to Israel. According to female Jordanian blogger Rasha Abdullah, « many groups addressed prominent Palestinian figures, such as Mahmoud Darwish, Naji Al-Ali, George Habash, Ghassan Kanafani, Yasser Arafat, Haidar Abdel-Shafi. Their fans did not restrict themselves to just creating one group for each, tens of groups were created for most of them, particularly Naji Al-Ali who was chosen, along with his symbolic characterHandhala, as the symbols for most Palestinian Facebook users. The Palestinian-Israeli conflict was not restricted to Facebook groups, but extended to applications available to all participants, including the flags, topped by the Palestinian, and the « I am Palestinian » application where Palestinian members can add the flag and decorate their pages with pictures of Palestinian cities, a map of Palestine and pictures of against the occupation. There is also the Causes application where donations are collected for Palestinians, including Free Palestine, the Right of Return for Palestinian Refugees and tens of others. There is also the Fans application which allows the selection of certain figures admired by Facebook members, the most notable were Naji Al-Ali, Mahmoud Darwish, Marwan Barghouti, Ghassan Kanafani, and even singers whose names were linked to the Palestinian cause, including Marcel Khalifa and Naseer Shamma. Moreover, there are the invitations to Palestinian art events inside Palestine and in exile, in addition to groups which chose to address the issue through comedy, including the groups of Abu-Fayek, the Palestinian expressions group, and other groups which celebrate Palestinian rural expressions and dialect. Finally, Palestinian artist paintings are circulated, including the paintings of artists such as Ismail Shammout. Tammam Al-Ak-hal. Naji Al-Ali’s caricatures, as well as slogans, the most prominent of which are photos of the Argentinean fighter Che Guevara wearing a Palestinian scarf.    

Twitter

 
O people, my mother and I are been attacked right now in our house by a neighboring police major and his brother. They injured my head and broke one of my teeth. Police corruption has reached my home. This was a text message sent by the activist and blogger, Wael Abbas, from his mobile phone to more than 2500 people around the world in a few seconds, via Twitter. The incident of attacking the famous Egyptian blogger was very important and what was equally important was the way he used to disseminate the news of assaulting him among large number of friends, whether bloggers or journalists or human rights activists in Egypt and abroad, every second. Wael reported the entire incident; from the beginning of the attack, to the compliant he filed to the general prosecutor, to the investigation done regarding the incident and its conclusion. This was all made possible because of this new and important service which the world knows now as « Twitter ». What is Twitter? Twitter is a popular communication tool in the world of social networking. Twitter provides a micro-blogging service; subscribers can send a text message from any mobile phone to any Twitter subscriber almost for free through the website. A Twiiter subscriber can send message to all friends, acquaintances and whoever wants to be updated with his/her news. For example, BBC covered the attack on Wael Abbas, before any other media channel, because it was among those who have registered to follow up Wael Abbas’s news posted on Twitter. The Start of Twitter The idea of Twitter began when Jack Dorsey wanted to be informed with what all his friends are doing at all times. So, he told his friends about the idea and they decided to create a prototype of the website to see whether or not it will work out. In the beginning of the year 2006, the website appeared as a research project conducted by the American company, Obvious, in San Francisco. It was officially launched in October 2006, then, the company decided to make it an independent company under the name Twitter, in April 2007. What are you doing now? This is the question that anyone has to answer to become a Twitter member. This question has to be answered in a maximum of 140 words; it’s almost the same length of a SMS, after logging to the main page to create an account. When the subscriber presses ‘send’, his/her message reaches all his/her friends or followers on their mobiles and their Twitter accounts simultaneously. This only costs the same price of a short SMS. In addition, you receive the messages of all people you asked to « follow » on your mobile phone and your Twitter home page. The emergence of Twitter has changed the media scene in the world. Twitter transformed from being just a means for social networking into a means to mobilize support for opposition and activists. It is used to mobilize people or for obtaining information, like what happened in the U.S. and Iranian elections. It has also become an important tool in the hands of reporters to cover any significant events on the ground, like protests and demonstrations, every moment, using only their mobile phone and their Twitter account. Like many political leaders around the world wanted to create heir own blogs in order to communicate with their supporters, a lot of people join Twitter in order to inform their acquaintances and followers with their most recent news rapidly. The Twitter Revolution This is the most common expression describing the popular uprising that accompanied the Iranian elections at the beginning of the summer of this year. Maybe the tremendous growth of the messages sent via Twitter is partly because of the role Twitter played in this popular uprising. Before the elections, the Iranian government has imposed extremely restrictive regulations on mass media (local and satellite TV channels, and local newspapers), with the exception of mass media supportive of President Ahmadinejad. Moreover, Tehran imposed restrictions on international newspapers and the use of all modern technologies, like the Internet. Also, international news agencies were prevented from covering the elections and the events that followed it, like the demonstrations and arrests. Facebook website was blocked days before the elections in order to prevent the opposition from mobilizing their supporters. In the face of this media blackout, the new generation of supporters of the opposition candidate, Moussaoui, did not find any means to communicate and share news and information but Twitter. They began a major campaign on Twitter to mobilize supporters of Moussaoui and organize and scheduling demonstrations. For example, the sent a message saying: “alert…Moussaoui’s rally is still on time at five o’clock in the evening”. By those text messages sent via Twitter, they also managed to uncover the crimes and gross violations perpetrated by the Iranian police, like raiding houses and arrests. This made the voice of the Iranian opposition reach the world. The Iranian government found itself in a difficult position. Unlike most websites, imposing censorship on Twitter will not work due to its various applications on mobile phones. A message sent by an activist in Iran, via their mobiles, will be seen by millions abroad through Twitter. As a result, the Iranian government announced it would summon to court any person who uses Twitter to send information about the Iranian elections. In addition, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard warned against the use of technological devices, like Twitter, to stir up riots or demonstrations. Unprecedented growth At the beginning of November 2009, the total number of messages transmitted via Twitter reached more than five billion messages. The number increased in December to reach 6 billion messages; this means that 1 billion messages are sent via Twitter monthly. Twitter and Arab Internet activists Although, Twitter users, worldwide, did not exceeded six million, at the beginning of this year, their commitment to the website resulted in an increase in the number of users to reach 1 billion. It is expected that the number would reach 350 million within two years; in 2011. Despite the successful use of the website by some Arab activists, this use is still within the limits of individual cases. Twitter failed to become as effective forums, blogs, and later Facebook. Besides, the successful cases of activists in the Arab world using Twitter, a recent study by « Spot on Public Relations » stated that « about 60% of Twitter users in the Middle East and North Africa are bloggers and 90% of the users are using Facebook. Moreover, there is a significant increase in the number of journalists joining Twitter. The study added that; « over 75% of Twitter users in the Middle East and North Africa are also participating in « LinkedIn », and more than 70% said that they use Twitter every day, while 96% stated that in the future, they will use it on once a day if not more ». This data shows that Twitter is developing in the region . In addition, to the previously mentioned case of Wael Abbas, some people Tweeted actively during the famous 6th of April strike in 2008. Bloggers wanted to report the developments and the arrests that have been taking place. For example, the American journalist, James Buck, informed everyone that he was arrested while covering the strike. Buck was able to update everyone with the news of his, every moment, until he was released. The tremendous capabilities of this website enable it to play a major role, as big as the role played by blogs and Facebook, in supporting democracy in the Arab world.    

YouTube and Flickr

 
YouTube None of the three young men, Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Kareem, who met in San Francisco, have thought that their idea to send video clips of a large volume over the internet will become one of the most important applications of the internet today, despite its recent establishment (2005). After one year of the launch of this website, YouTube , it turned to be among the top ten viewed websites world wide. At the end of December, 2008, the number of video clips seen by Americans on YouTube was about 5.4 billion video clips. The website as of this date contains only 520 video clip ; which means that there are clips that have been viewed thousands of times, if not millions. Arabs and YouTube Arab internet activists, especially bloggers, did not miss such an opportunity to broadcast audio and video clips of every day life in Arab countries. These scenes will not possibly be aired on Arabic media, which are mostly controlled by Arabic governments, specifically if it’s about prohibited topics such as advocating for democracy or disclosing corruption or repression swarming the Arab world. Perhaps, the most famous Egyptian torture case, known as Emad Al Kabir and Islam Nabih, about a police officer, Islam Nabih, who sexually abused a van driver, Al Kabir. Police staff recorded the rape scene (which was done by a stick) in order to send it via Bluetooth to the driver’s friends and neighbors to cause him more humiliation. The clip reached the mobile phone of the blogger, Mohamed Khaled (of the DemaghMak blog), who posted it on his blog. Wael Abbas, a well-known Egyptian blogger, posted the video on his blog, Misr Digital. The independent weekly paper, Al Fajr, found out about the story and published it. The aggressor, the police officer, was put on trial and sentenced to 3 years in prison. This incident was a turning point of how the public views torture. Now, what human rights organizations have been saying that torture is a systematic policy of the ministry of interior was finally realized by the public. This disclosure opened the door for broadcasting every day life scenes in all aspects. The number of views of this torture video exceeded 12 million. Fake Porn Scenes Viewed By Millions Following the discovery of the capabilities of YouTube , it was not only used to expose corruption in the Arab world, but to broadcast sex video clips as well. Pornographic scenes within YouTube are the most viewed websites around the world. In the Arab world, where sex is prohibited, they have become the target of millions of Arab visitors where they search for the sex scenes whether from a movie or from real life. One clip was entitled “Rape of a tanned Girl” brought more than 7.5 million viewers, however, it was actually about three young Egyptian young men laughing, as if mocking the viewers and browsers . The word « rape » was the real attraction of this huge traffic. The scene held hundreds of comments, mostly insults by frustrated visitors, who were looking for real sex scenes; a need of which they are so deprived. War on YouTube Blocking is useless. This is the lesson learnt by many Arab governments, so they finally decided to use YouTube for their own interest. They hired some internet users to change the classical unpleasant images of some regimes. For instance, the Saudi authorities paid some users to delete “inappropriate” content on YouTube , through launching a campaign called « cleansing YouTube  » deleting all scenes that insults the Saudi royal family . In Kuwait, Kuwaiti bloggers launched « The Battle of YouTube  » campaign to mock a call from the parliament member, Mohammad Al Mateiry, to block YouTube  » as religious and national duty ». According to Al Mateiry, the website contains pornographic or anti- Islam content. The blog, Ketaba Mesmaria, stated that this call is similar to clerics call in Saudi Arabia in the last century against wireless devices in Saudi Arabia and the radio, a call which was defeated eventually by the voice of reason and call for freedom YouTube, the Most Blocked Website Although, YouTube has been launched recently, only 4 years ago, but it is becoming the most blocked website in various countries around the world, if not the most ever. It was blocked in many countries (such as Turkey, Thailand, UAE, Syria, Pakistan, Tunisia, Sudan, Indonesia, Bahrain, Kuwait…etc.). Although, some of these countries and others have blocked it for only a few days, the declared reasons were mostly due to the “pornographic content ». YouTube has stated explicitly, in the second item of terms of use, that the uploading pornographic scenes was not allowed. However, YouTube , major corporations and many countries, finally, gave in and announced that they lost the war with YouTube users, who manipulated this condition in many ways, by splitting videos or giving them different names, which led finally to uploading porn scenes. It is to be noted that a huge amount of video clips is posted on the website, more than thousands of clips every minute. Flickr Flickr is an application website of Web 2.0. It allows users to upload their photos to be displayed in galleries with themes tailored to different photos. This rendered Flickr a favorite website for most professional photographers of the world, journalists and activists in the Arab world. Flickr was created in 2002 by Ludi Corporation in Vancouver, Canada. The Beta pilot version was launched in February 2004. In March 2005, Yahoo bought Ludi Corporation and Flickr. In a week, starting from 28/6/2005, all content was moved from Canada to servers in the US. Hence, all Flickr material was subject to U.S. laws. In May 2006, Flickr websites implemented some changes in the design and allowed users to participate in the development Not the Best for Arabs Although, Flickr is among the top websites in the world, it is not among the websites most commonly used in the Arab world. One of the reasons may be the limited space for free images; there are 200 images only for uncharged use. For more images, it charges $25 per image. Though, it could be affordable for some, it is still difficult for young people to pay online as the method of payment is by using credit card. Most internet websites would not accept credit cards from Arab countries. For this important reason, news in closed communities, such as the Arab world, travel fast. However , millions of Arab internet users know that Flickr has deleted the images of the famous Egyptian blogger, Hossam el-Hamalawy, of the Israeli war on Gaza at the end of December 2008 and the beginning of January 2009, despite that it is known that Flickr has a two year deletion policy. However, some Arab activists became experts in the use of Flickr such as the leftist blogger, Hossam el-Hamalawy, owner of the blog, Arabawy. Hossam is among the most famous Flickr users in advocating for political reform movements in the Arab world. The political background of Hossam is his motive for this effective use of Flickr. His gallery on Flickr contains 92 albums having more than 2000 images. It is a real pleasure to visit his well organized albums which in effect speak well for his ideas The success of the Hossam Hamalawy’s gallery is due to his proficiency in Flickr use, as well as the high credibility of his images, whether its scenes of protests or faces of people he knows, and how he displays them. On the other hand, the National Democratic Party failed to make a success on Flickr. The NDP gallery on Flickr contained images of the conference of November 2009, 90% of them are of Gamal Mubarak. Though, the images were carefully chosen, yet no comments were posted . Since the internet is a free space, the Arab internet users only seek truthful and credible information not official information and images like the NDP’s. Flickr Blocked Unfortunately, the UAE was one of two countries who have blocked Flickr; the other country is Saudi Arabia! What really made UAE’s internet users’ wonder why Saudi Arabia would lift its block of the website, while the UAE is still insists on blocking the website? Publications of ANHRI Some of them are available for free at the network headquarter 1-The Internet In the Arab World A New Space of Repression? 2-Web Design for Civil Society Institutes 3-Electronic Media and Human Rights 4-Implacable Adversaries: Arab Governments and the Internet 5-Who Pays the Price? Advertisements in the Egyptian Press Beautifying the Image of the Tunisian Dictatorship 6-Insult and Libel And Freedom of Opinion and Expression 7-Freedom of Opinion and Expression in Egypt « 2007 Annual Report » 8-Human Rights.. Basic Information 9-The right to life 10-Map of Islamic Movements In Egypt 11-Demonstrations of Freedom of Expression 1909 12-Freedom of Opinion and Expression in Egypt « 2007 Annual Report 13-Behind The Walls of Fear Fayoum Under Siege 14-Right to life Juvenile Execution 15-Freedom of the Press in Egypt (Source: « The Initiative For an Open Arab Internet »  visité le 28 decembre 2009)  

La section de Tunis du Conseil de l’Ordre décide :

Les avocats d’ « Al Hak Maâq » suspendus d’exercer

Me Fethi El Mouldi : « Je suis désagréablement surpris » Les avocats qui participent à l’émission « Al Hak maâq » sur TV7, Mes Fethi El Mouldi, Amel Karoui, Kamel Ben Messaoud, Sonia Dahmani et aussi Me Walid Zaraâ présentateur de l’émission « Sans complaisance » sur la chaîne Hannibal ont été interdits, par le Conseil de discipline du Conseil de l’Ordre des Avocats réuni jeudi au siège de la section de Tunis, à ne plus exercer leur fonction d’avocat. Le Conseil de discipline reproche à ces avocats leur participation à des émissions télévisées sans prévenir la section de Tunis du Conseil de l’ordre comme le stipule l’amendement introduit au règlement intérieur adopté en juin 2009 suite à une émission d’ « Al Hak Maâq » qui a traité le cas d’un avocat soupçonné d’avoir détourné l’argent de sa cliente.   Mesure Contacté, Me Fethi El Mouldi nous a déclaré : « Je ne suis pas encore informé officiellement et en tant que juriste, je ne peux me prononcer. Reste que je suis désagréablement surpris par une décision que nous n’attendions pas dans la mesure où notre droit à la défense a été usurpé. On nous a pas entendu d’autant plus que  de notre côté, nous avons respecté la loi. Nous avons ainsi informé avant l’émission le bâtonnier qui n’a pas réagi. Pour ma part, j’ai la conscience tranquille et ma participation à ces émissions a donné une belle image de la profession. Je crains donc que cette décision entre dans le cadre des calculs électoraux et là c’est très grave. On ne joue pas avec l’honnêteté des confrères. J’espère donc que ce n’est pas vrai ». A noter que ce ne sont pas les seuls avocats qui participent régulièrement à des émissions télévisées et radiophoniques. Néjib SASSI
 
(Source: « Le Temps » (Quotidien – Tunisie) e 26 decembre 2009)

LE PEUPLE DE GAZA A LE DROIT DE VIVRE

Hend Harouni: –Tunisie

Date : 27 Décembre, 2009- 10 Mouharam 1431,

Au nom d’Allah Le Clément, Le Miséricordieux et la Prière et la Paix Soient sur notre

Prophète Loyal et Sincère Mohamed

Au nom d’Allah, le Tout Miséricordieux, le Très Miséricordieux.

Le Saint Coran : Sourate 17- :Al-Isra : Le Voyage Nocturne  

Verset 70. Certes, Nous avons honoré les fils d’Adam. Nous les avons transportés sur terre et sur mer, leur avons attribué de bonnes choses comme nourriture, et Nous les avons nettement préférés à plusieurs de Nos créatures.

Le Saint Coran : Sourate 49-: Al-Hujurât : Les appartements

Verset 13. Ô hommes! Nous vous avons créés d’un mâle et d’une femelle, et Nous avons fait de vous des nations et des tribus, pour que vous vous entre-connaissiez. Le plus noble d’entre vous, auprès d’Allah, est le plus pieux. Allah est certes Omniscient et Grand Connaisseur.

Ceux qui font le mal et causent la souffrance aux autres par la colonisation  destructrice et condamnent la résistance légitime  de ces peuples luttant pour la liberation de leurs pays détruisent le fonctionnement naturel de l’existence humaine sur tous les plans.

Le monde est beau à vivre lorsqu’il est dépouillé de guerres injustes.

Nous saluons nos sœurs et amies, nos frères et amis à Gaza en ce jour triste soit le 27 Décembre, nous rappelant les scènes du holocaust  phosphorique sioniste sur le territoire  il y’a une année sans qu’à ce jour les  sièges ne soient levés et la reconstruction ne soit réalisée .

Nous saluons également le convoi de VIVA PALESTINA renfermant plusieurs nationalités pour sa haute solidarité humanitaire avec ce peuple en vue de lever le siège  et dont nous attendons le moment propice : l’entrée à Gaza pour vivre les  moments de consolation et de joie que nous serons tous très émus de voir.

Citations :

Lorsqu’ un peuple veut la vie, force est au destin de répondre Aux ténèbres de se dissiper et aux chaînes de se rompre !  Aboul Kacem  Echebbi

 

« L’égoïste n’est pas celui quivit comme il luiplaît, c’est celui quidemande auxautres devivre comme il luiplaît ; l’altruiste est celui quilaisse lesautresvivre leurvie, sansintervenir ».  Oscar Wilde

« Une injustice faite à un seul  est une menace faite à tous ». Montesquieu

« Lesgrandesdouleurs sontmuettes, lespetitescolères sont unesourceincomparable desolidarité ». Jean Dion

« Il n’existe pas d’autrevoie vers lasolidaritéhumaine que larecherche et lerespect de ladignitéindividuelle ».  Pierre Lecomte du Noüy

Proverbes :

« Si tu as de nombreuses richesses, donne de ton bien ; si tu possèdes peu, donne de ton coeur. »

Proverbe arabe

 

« Lemensongedonne desfleurs mais pas defruits ».

 Proverbe africain

« Lapromesse a desjambes ;seul le don a desmains » .

Proverbe allemand

« Laroute quimènechez unami n’estjamaislongue ».

Proverbe danois

 « Jamais on n’a raison contre un enfant qui pleure ».

Proverbe Japonais

« Même une feuille de papier est plus légère si on la porte à deux ».

Proverbe Coréen

« Pour lebien, l’action est plus que l’intention ; pour lemal, l’intention est plus que l’action ».

Proverbe espagnol

« Grâce à Dieu, tout est possible».                                                                                                     

Proverbe français

A Gaza comme ailleurs, les êtres humains et leurs propriétés, les animaux, les arbres ont tous le droit d’exister, ce droit qui en fait doit être défendu par l’humanité.


 

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