Three lawyers are advocating that the Tunisian Internet Agency, known as ATI, its French acronym, to filter pornographic websites.
The lawyers who lodged the complaint claim that filtering of pornographic content will protect children.
Next month, the ATI will appeal a verdict issued on May 26, 2011, ordering the agency to block access to pornographic content.
In a ruling made in August 2011, the agency lost an appeal of the order; they had argued that “the filtering of pornographic websites listed by Smart Filter could not be carried out for the five Internet service providers.”
After the toppling of Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, the country’s censorship and freedom of speech has become a topic of debate. Marred with a reputation as an ardent censor during Ben Ali’s rule, ATI is trying to improve its image by raising the awareness of internet users. Instead of censorship, it advocated the use of internet tools to protect children from pornographic content.
Other examples of attempts to instill more conservatism since the departure of Ben Ali’ include film censorship.
Nadia al-Fani, a Tunisian film director who was exiled during Ben Ali’s rule, recently faced difficulties having one of her films screened in the country.
“Neither Allah nor Master” was retitled “Secularism, Inshallah” and was not banned, but many theatres afraid to show it.
Fani said six charges were lodged against her, including indecency and insults to God and religion, by three Islamist lawyers who are close to the Al-Nahda Party, the conservative platform that won a majority of the seats in the country’s recent elections.
The film, which was was shot when Ben Ali was still in power and tells the story of the Tunisian revolution, won the 2011 International Secular Prize.
In October 2011, protesters tried to set fire to a TV station after it screened an award-winning animated film, “Persepolis.” The protesters were outraged by a scene in which God is portrayed in a physical form.