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Arab spring continued: Tunisia arrests 3 journalists in morality dispute

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by AroundTheWorld, Feb 18, 2012.

  1. AroundTheWorld

    Supporting Member

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    Three Tunisian journalists have been arrested after publishing a photograph of a footballer frolicking with a nude woman, raising fears of a media crackdown by the country's new Islamist rulers.

    The Attounissia newspaper printed a photograph on Wednesday of German-Tunisian football player Sami Khedira of Real Madrid dressed in a tuxedo with his hands covering the breasts of his otherwise naked German model girlfriend, Lena Gercke.

    The photograph drew an angry response from the country's public prosecutor who ordered the detention of Nasreddine Ben Said, Attounissia's publisher, Habib Guizani, its editor-in- chief, and Hedi Hidhri, the editor of its world section, according to Chokri Nafti, a spokesman for the Justice ministry.

    The three were accused of offending public morality and would be held pending the results of the investigation, he added.

    The trio are the first journalists to be arrested since the revolution a year ago which ousted Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, who had tightly censored the media.

    The arrests have raised fears among secular Tunisians that the Islamist-led government will increasingly seek to censor material it deems offensive to its religious morals.

    Tunisia's journalists' union called in a statement for the "immediate release of all journalists and the rejection of intimidation against reporters."

    On Facebook, thousands of Tunisians launched a campaign to support the journalists and to defend freedom of expression.

    "This issue is political and aims to quell the voice of the media and stop it criticizing the government .. it is a very serious indicator," Jihen Lagmari, a journalist at Attounissia told Reuters

    She added that journalists at the newspaper had received anonymous phone calls threatening to set fire to the building, which is now being guarded by police.

    The government, led by the moderate Islamist Ennahda party, only came to power in elections in October but is already facing strong opposition in secular newspapers. Its critics have also spoken out against its decision to try a local television channel for showing Persepolis, a film whose animated depiction of God outraged conservative Salafi Islamists.

    Tunisia's once-staid media has enjoyed a new lease of life since the removal of Ben Ali, but activists say the government is now seeking to impose new controls on the media.

    Last month, hundreds of journalists demonstrated outside the office of the prime minister to demand an end to restrictions on media freedoms after the appointment of government officials and editors to state television positions.

    The government has repeatedly denied accusations it is seeking to stifle the media.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/16/us-tunisia-journalists-idUSTRE81F1LJ20120216

    Sami Khedira Expresses Dismay on Attounisia Affair to German Daily Die Welt

    Sami Khedira, a German-Tunisian midfielder for Real Madrid, declared today to the German daily Die Welt:

    “I am very sad. I have just learned about what happened and I think it is truly a sad thing. We live in the 21st century and I believe everyone should have a right to freedom of expression. I respect the different religions that exist, and peoples’ faiths. But I cannot understand that people may not express themselves freely. It is sad.”

    On February 15th, the director of Tunisian daily Attounissia Nasreddine Ben Saida was arrested, along with editor-in-chief Habib Guizani and journalist Mohammed Hedi Hidri, after running a racy front-page photo of Sami Khedira posing with his German model girlfriend, Lena Gercke.

    While the director has been in jail since his arrest on February 15, the editor-in-chief and journalist were released but are still under investigation. The director of Attounissia now faces a sentence ranging from six months to five years of imprisonment, as well as a fine of 120 to 1,200 dinars.

    Reporters Without Borders (RSF), an NGO advocating for freedom of information around the world, criticized ”the hypocrisy of such a reaction,” indicating that ”pictures of this kind are regularly featured in foreign magazines sold in Tunisia”.

    RSF’s decision to condemn the government’s arrest of Ben Saida and his two colleagues is largely steeped in legal considerations as well. The charges against them were based on Article 121, Paragraph 3 of the Penal Code, which stipulates that “it is prohibited to distribute, sell, expose to the public eye [...] anything that could harm public order or good morals.”

    According to RSF, the legislation that ought to be applied in this case is the recently-enacted Press Code, which holds that “a journalist cannot be taken to court for reasons related to his profession unless it is proven that he has violated the current provision of [the Press Code].” Article 2 of the Press Code stipulates that all previous texts contradicting it are void.

    “The fact of presenting this offense as a violation of common law disturbingly resembles the political-administrative practices employed under Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali to condemn journalists and muzzle the media,” read RSF’s press release on the matter.

    This controversial arrest happened at the same time that the National Committee of Information and Communication Reform (INRIC) held a press conference that was organized to reiterate the necessity of applying new media laws, such as the latest Press Code.

    http://www.tunisia-live.net/2012/02...n-attounisia-affair-to-german-daily-die-welt/

    The picture in question:

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Northside Storm

    Northside Storm Contributing Member

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    let's not pretend that these rules and ways of thinking, after 30+ years of repression, will be undone in a matter of months. Still, there has been more progress in these few months than they have been for years.
     
  3. AroundTheWorld

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    What makes you think that? If anything, the Islamists are bringing more repression, as this arrest shows.
     
  4. thegary

    thegary Contributing Member

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    she has a nice rack
     
  5. Northside Storm

    Northside Storm Contributing Member

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    These arrests have been happening in a long time in these countries, I rather think your bias towards Islamist parties have led you to notice them just now.

     
  6. AroundTheWorld

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    Yeah, she's pretty cute.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Northside Storm

    Northside Storm Contributing Member

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    once again, I have to note the irony of a war on terror based on supporting regimes who terrorize their own citizens (to the point where some self-immolate).
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. AroundTheWorld

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    Like arresting them for re-publishing a harmless picture of a female model and a football player?
     
  9. thadeus

    thadeus Contributing Member

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    Any religion, given enough power, turns into an *******.
     
  10. Northside Storm

    Northside Storm Contributing Member

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    Well, the irony is that I don't think Tunisia is quite the same partner in the war on terror as it was before, but I haven't quite heard of any citizens self-immolating out of despair yet.
     
  11. AroundTheWorld

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    Why the hell do you keep talking about war on terror or whatever.

    This thread is about the arrest of 3 Tunisian journalists who face significant jail time, just because they re-published a non-nude image. This happened after the Islamist regime took over.

    Everything you keep spouting here is off-topic.
     
  12. Northside Storm

    Northside Storm Contributing Member

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    It was an aside to my main point, to be honest, and a casual inference from a point I made you have not even addressed. My main point is very on-topic: the Arab Spring has actually been reformatory in this department, and while this might be a slip-up, it is a misguided continuation of policies (some of which have been reformed, but others which sadly haven't) advocated by a secular dictatorship beforehand, therefore your negative connotation of the Arab Spring is unwarranted.

    ...but you might want to check the mirror before you criticize others for derailing, Mr. "Meanwhile in X Arab Country".
     
  13. AroundTheWorld

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    :rolleyes:

    You fail to provide any proof to your statement that the Arab Spring has been reformatory in this department.

    Your ridiculous trivialization of this arrest is based on nothing.
     
  14. Northside Storm

    Northside Storm Contributing Member

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    i think i posted that like three times.

     
  15. Northside Storm

    Northside Storm Contributing Member

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    I don't think this arrest is trivial. I just think somehow using it to characterize a lot of the work that has happened after the Arab Spring in an overbearing negative light based on one situation---well, that is trivial.
     
  16. AroundTheWorld

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    The proof is in the pudding. The fact of the matter is that three journalists just got arrested under the Islamist regime for basically nothing. Your desperate attempts to distract from that are full of fail.
     
  17. Northside Storm

    Northside Storm Contributing Member

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    LOL.

    they would have been arrested for equally vapid reasons under the old regime. however, things have changed. there has been progress (first media arrests in a year in Tunisia, this from a country where media freedom abuse was routine under Ben Ali). let us hope this is a one-time thing and that the progress they have made can be continued to be built on, so that Tunisia and the Arab Spring are rightfully seen as the products of self-expression and legitimate democracy, rather than the scarecrow "Islamist terror regimes" some would rather have it be.

    As for distracting from your thread, well, I've been bumping your automaton "IslamALARM" thread #437857 with discussion points that you never quite respond to, except with ad hominem attacks. You should be thanking me for being about the only significant contributor who has taken the time to actually address the issue at hand, if you're not going to actually argue anything. (because, you know, the fact that the girl has a nice rack really adds a lot).
     
  18. bigtexxx

    bigtexxx Contributing Member

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    are you Muslim?

    I detect bias
     
  19. Major

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    That makes no sense. You can't determine progress if you don't have a starting point. Perhaps those journalists would have been shot on the spot in the previous regime. Or perhaps they wouldn't have been arrested at all. Without a baseline comparison, it's impossible to say whether there has been progress. You started with a conclusion,found an article to support it, and now have no interest in facts that may not support your original viewpoint. Your bias is showing.
     
  20. AroundTheWorld

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    So you are saying that just because there was repression under the previous government, it is ok that these three journalists got arrested for nothing?

    That makes no sense.

    Your bias is showing.
     

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