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Tunisian court orders porn sites blocked

The porn sites had been accessible in Tunisia since censorship was lifted in January following the collapse Ben Ali's regime, and were among the most popular websites visited by Tunisians.

A court in Tunisia has ordered the country's internet authority to block all pornographic websites.

The porn sites became accessible in Tunisia when censorship was lifted in January, following the collapse of the authoritarian regime of President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, and quickly became among the most popular websites visited by Tunisians.

Since censorship ended in January, seven porn sites have appeared among the 100 most visited websites in Tunisia, with five in the top 50, the Tunisian internet site Business News reports.

But last week three lawyers filed a suit in a Tunisian court, arguing that pornographic websites were a danger to Tunisia’s young people and ran contrary to Muslim values, Agence France-Presse reports.

The court ordered the Tunisian Internet Agency (ATI) to re-block all X-rated websites.

If the ban is upheld, it would be the second case of internet censorship since Ben Ali’s regime fell January 14 in the “Jasmine Revolution," the first of the dramatic anti-government protests that have swept through North Africa and the Middle East.

Several websites and Facebook profiles were blocked in early May by the ATI at the military’s request, AFP reports, but the reasons were not made clear.

Slim Amamou, an influential dissident blogger and advocate for freedom of expression who had been named junior minister for youth in the country’s interim government, has resigned over the renewed censorship. (Slim Amamou's blog, in French)

Amamou, who stepped down this week, criticized the internet censorship and said that he would "feel more useful outside the government,” AFP reports.

Amamou had been arrested during the protests in Tunisia that led to the toppling of Ben Ali’s regime. He was accused of dissident cyber activity and held in the interior ministry’s notorious detention cells.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/110527/tunisia-censorship-internet-porn-websites-blocked