Friday, September 13, 2013
Freedom of Expression in Tunisia
Tunisian authority figures are ruling to silence free speech and prosecute those who publicly disagree with current government practices. Just days ago, a union leader named Walid Zarrouck was detained for posting a Facebook status arguing against the “politicization of prosecutions”. Additionally, journalist named Zouhaer al-Jiss was prosecuted for moderating a radio station on which a guest criticized the government.
Laws prohibiting the criticism of public figures violate one of the most basic human rights and ultimately inhibit the advancement of countries where they exist. A government cannot accurately represent its people without their input and leads to dissatisfaction as well as resentment between the population and its authority. The United Nations Civil Rights Committee has stated that all public figures are rightly subject to criticism.
Freedom of expression is one the rights we as United States citizens hold most dearly, but also take for granted. I could not imagine not being able to disagree with a public authority figure based solely on the fact that he or she was part of the government and therefore could not be considered wrong. Not everyone in a country or even a small community will ever be completely satisfied with the distribution of power, but allowing the people to play at least a somewhat authoritative role helps to create a more unified group. Letting people contribute to their central authority by voting on candidates, laws, rules, and regulations also gives them more incentive to support and respect the changes that occur as a result of their contribution. Freedom of expression is vital in the success of any government.