By: nart on 16 November 2005

The WSIS summit in Tunisia is now well underway and the issue of freedom of expression online is emerging as an important issue. In his opening address, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan stated that freedom of expression was a key issue. During the opening ceremony, Kofi Annan was joined by Nobel Prize winner Shirin Ebadi, representing the Civil Society delegation, who stated that fundamental respect for freedom of expression is integral to an information society. She called on WSIS to have an official inquiry into Internet filtering.

The fact that WSIS is even in Tunisia has been the subject of much controversy. In the official WSIS space it is considered the UN, and the Internet is not filtered. But across the hall, in the ICT4D area, where countries, NGO, and companies have booths, it is Tunisian space, and the Internet is filtered. A website for the Citizen's Summit, an alternative parallel event, was available two days ago, but it is now blocked.

As shown in the just released ONI report on Filtering in Tunisia the block page appears to be a 404 File not Found error, but it is in fact a 403 Forbidden error generated by SmartFilter.

(Cross-posted from ICE)