When one feels the noose of repression tightening, one must not remain silent, and so I bring back The Pen (previously here and here) because it continues to be pertinent and actual.
The problem: Journalists are under attack as Freedom of Expression and Freedom of the Press--the only good that resulted from the Revolution in my opinion--slip away. Examples are numerous--a small sampling follows.
1. The well-known owner of a TV news station was summoned to appear before an attorney general (juge d'instruction), was then arrested and only released because of the large crowd waiting for him in the street. Several serious accusations have been leveled at this daring journalist/station owner, including betrayal of national security--which carries a death penalty. Although released, the lawsuits against him continue.
2. A militant journalist, who did prison time during the dictatorship, was summoned, arrested and spent two days in prison before he paid bail, which is unheard of because the bail system does not exist in Tunisia. Lawsuits against him continue.
3. A blogger who did some investigative reporting and revealed the "Sheraton-gate" scandal concerning large sums of money diverted by the former Minister of Foreign Affairs (son-in-law of the religious party's leader) had her passport confiscated and cannot leave the country.
4. Fortunately, "le ridicule ne tue pas" ("the ridiculous does not kill"). The government threw a lawsuit against a journalist with a radio program. His program was live and a caller criticized the government. That lawsuit is ongoing as well.
And so, I salute the courageous journalists, writers, and media professionals who continue to risk their lives in order to maintain Freedom of Expression.
In the meantime, after two years of the ruling religious party's government, whose mandate ended October 23, 2012, Tunisia is on the edge of bankruptcy. Persistent rumors whisper that currency is evaporating rapidly and that there may be nothing left in a couple of months to pay salaries and pensions. The ruling religious party has begun negotiations with the major trade union and opposition parties to create a transitional government, now that they have bled the country dry and international banks refuse to consider dealing with the ruling party. However, skepticism reigns--will they leave or will they hang on until nothing is left to pick over but dry bones? Ah, yes, this is all about money....