Tunisia: all going according to plan

The Tunisian authorities are taking their usual efficient measures to ensure that uppity journalists do nothing to cast a shadow over President Ben Ali's re-election tomorrow.

On Tuesday, Le Monde correspondent Florence Beaugé was refused entry and, after a night at Tunis airport, bundled back on a plane back to Paris. Government sources accused her of "an obvious malevolence toward Tunisia".

Also on Tuesday, plainclothes police roughed up Sihem Bensedrine, editor of the Kalima new organisation, and prevented her taking part in a workshop about coverage of the election campaign, the Committe to Protect Journalists reports.

Lotfi Hidouri, a journalist with Kalima and al-Quds Press, who had been under tight police surveillance since Saturday, was barred from the same workshop a day earlier.

Three Kalima journalists were detained by police for several hours last week after taking pictures of campaign scenes without government "authorisation".

Meanwhile, Thursday's and Friday's issues of Le Monde have been banned from sale in Morocco because of a cartoon (above). Le Monde's cartoon was a comment on the prosecution of Moroccan cartoonist Khaled Kadar over a caricature of the king's cousin, Prince Moulay Ismail, published last month in Akhbar al-Youm. 

Posted by Brian Whitaker, 24 October 2009.