Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Innocence of Muslims: Tunisia Launches International Prosecution.

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A hundred Tunisian journalists gathered on 22 August in the Kasbah, Tunis to criticising appointments in the public media.

Tunisian journalists  on the 22nd of  August Defending Media Freedom( El Watan).
 
The signs confirm that the protests against the Innocence of Muslims are being used by Islamist governments to win support for a religious clamp down on freedom of speech.
 
 

“Tunisian Islamist, Rachid Ghannouchi, the leader of the ruling Islamist party Ennahdha, has the violence but stated that what happened today would never have come to pass if a law against blasphemy like the one his party has proposed had been put in place. ” Reports Al Monitor.

This refers to the proposed Constitution.

Human Rights Watch (September the 13th) observes,

Article 26 of the draft constitution provides that freedom of opinion, expression, information and creation is guaranteed and can be limited only be laws designed to protect the rights of others, their reputation, security and health. However, draft article 3 threatens freedom of expression by stipulating that “The State guarantees freedom of belief and religious practice and criminalizes all attacks on the sacred.” This provision, which defines neither what is “sacred” nor what constitutes an “attack” on it, opens the door to laws that criminalize speech.

 

In the meantime Tunisia Live reports on a speech by Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki,

Tunisia will undertake the required legal procedures to sue the film’s producer and coordinate with Egyptian authorities on this front. Earlier this week, Reuters reported that Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi asked the country’s embassy in Washington to take legal action as well against the maker of the film.

Even before the Constitution has been passed there have been extensive threats to free speech in Tunisia.

The IFEX Tunisia Monitoring Group stated a few weeks ago,

 In the wake of recent government appointments to heads of prominent media outlets, as well as attacks on journalists, writers and artists, the International Freedom of Expression Exchange Tunisia Monitoring Group (IFEX-TMG), a coalition of 21 IFEX members, expresses serious concern over what has been a wave of setbacks for freedom of expression in Tunisia.

The IFEX-TMG strongly condemns the increasing use of violence and threats against journalists, artists and writers by police and ultra-conservative groups, and the government’s failure to put an end to the impunity of those carrying out these attacks. Furthermore, members of the media are in the midst of an ongoing battle to safeguard the freedoms gained during the democratic transition period, after the revolution.

 

Following protests against the Innocence of Muslims, there are now also calls for international laws to ban ‘insults’ to religion.

This is a major assault on freedom of speech and has to be fought root and branch.

In the wider context, Chris Barnyard makes an important point on Liberal Conspiracy, Syrians wonder why Muslims aren’t rioting over them.

Written by Andrew Coates

September 16, 2012 at 11:54 am

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