Tunis, Tunisia – (African Boulevard News) – The recent book fair in Tunisia has stirred controversy over censorship of publishers and authors. Attendees of the fair discovered that several stands were closed in solidarity with Dar El-Kitab, a publishing house whose stand was ordered to close by authorities.
The censorship of books and publishers has been a contentious issue in Tunisia since the 2011 uprising that led to the removal of long-time dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. While censorship has been officially abolished, authorities in Tunisia have been known to use vague laws to restrict freedom of expression, particularly when it comes to books.
At the book fair, authorities ordered the closing of Dar El-Kitab’s stand, claiming that the publisher was promoting “immoral values.” However, many attendees of the fair felt that the action was a violation of freedom of expression.
One attendee, Fatima Chebbi, expressed her disappointment over the censorship, saying “We are supposed to have the freedom to express ourselves, but it seems like that freedom is being taken away from us.”
The controversy has sparked a debate among Tunisians about the role of censorship in their society. Some believe that censorship is necessary to protect the morals and values of Tunisian society, while others argue that censorship is a tool used by the government to stifle dissent and control the narrative.
According to human rights organization Amnesty International, Tunisia has made some progress in terms of freedom of expression since the 2011 uprising. However, the organization noted that there is still a long way to go, particularly when it comes to censorship of books and other forms of media.
In a statement, Amnesty International called on Tunisian authorities to “uphold their international obligations to respect freedom of expression and refrain from using censorship as a means of controlling public discourse.”
The controversy at the book fair highlights the ongoing struggle for freedom of expression in Tunisia. While the country has made progress since the 2011 uprising, it is clear that there is still work to be done to ensure that all Tunisians are able to express their opinions and ideas freely.
As Tunisia continues on its path to democracy and freedom, it is important that stakeholders continue to push for greater respect for human rights, including freedom of expression. Only by working together can Tunisians ensure that their voices are heard and their rights are respected.