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Tunisia president threatens social media activists

July 13, 2023 at 12:06 pm

In this photo illustration, logos of social media platforms are displayed on mobile phone screen and computer screen in Ankara, Turkiye on June 30, 2023 [Cem Genco/Anadolu Agency]

Tunisian President Kais Saied has called for an end to the “indecent assault and targeting of state apparatus” on social media, warning that activists could face prosecution.

This came during a meeting held on Tuesday with Minister of Communication Technologies, Nizar Ben Neji, the presidency said in a statement.

Saied criticised “the use of social media platforms to spread false news, rumours and insults, as well as slander and defamation, which have begun to affect a number of officials within state agencies with the aim of causing confusion and introducing suspicion in official bodies and officials.”

Saied added that the platforms have turned into “tools” used by well-known circles at home and abroad to strike Tunisia’s national security, spread violence, death threats and call for revenge, which are actions criminalised by law.

He stressed that while Tunisia is keen to preserve “freedom of thought and expression”, it is also keen on preserving national security and the enforcement of the law.

Responding to Saied’s warnings, the Tunisian opposition warned of the return of the Internet police that prevailed during the rule of former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

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