Since he pushed out President Habib Bourguiba in 1987 on grounds of “senility,” President Ben Ali has kept a tight grip on the country and the media. He amended the national constitution to get himself re-elected in 2004 for another five years and said he would “promote media diversity by expanding areas for discussion, encouraging private initiatives in the media and improving working conditions for journalists.” Called on by his party, the Democratic Constitutional Rally, to undertake a fifth mandate, President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali is expected to stand successfully in 2009. But journalists and human rights activists are still the target of bureaucratic harassment, police violence and constant surveillance by the intelligence services. The Internet is also closely monitored. Journalist Slim Boukhdir, of the news website al-Arabiya.net, was jailed for one year for “insulting an official in the exercise of his duty” “affront to public decency” and “refusing to produce his identity papers”. The Tunisian authorities constantly use trumped-up charges to silence independent voices. Plain-clothes police even surreptitiously seize opposition party newspapers.
Download his resume