Friday, October 30, 2009

Dictatorships that you like

"The press is mute. Reporters Without Borders, a Paris-based watchdog, ranks Tunisia’s press as one of the world’s least free. Many journalists who cheek Mr Ben Ali or his regime have been beaten, imprisoned, sued or intimidated. Naziha Rejiba, editor of a banned newspaper, Kalima(“The Word”), says her office was ransacked and locked, her telephone tapped and her e-mails blocked. But Western governments tend to keep Mr Ben Ali sweet. For one thing, he is tough on anti-Western jihadists. In Paris and elsewhere Tunisia is widely viewed as stable...Investors’ biggest concern is not to step on the toes of the ruling family. Leila Ben Ali, the president’s second and current wife, has long promoted the interests of her Trabelsi clan. Most prominent is her brother, Belhassen Trabelsi, and her son-in-law, Muhammad Sakher el-Materi, both of whom she fiercely protects. A new book by two French journalists which unravels Tunisia’s business web was banned in the country this month. Mrs Ben Ali tried in vain to have it banned in France too." (thanks Mohamed)