Swiss.President@WSIS.opening

Tunis, Tunisia

...It is unacceptable that the UN still has members that harass or imprison their citizens because they criticize them on the Internet. Freedom of speech has to be respected. Everyone has to be able to express their views freely. It is one of the crucial conditions for this conference to succeed...
Myself and Maxigas just got out of the plenary hall after attending the opening ceremony of WSIS. There were speeches by H.E Kofi Anan, H.E. Zine el Abidine, H.E. Samuel Schmid, the Swiss President and H.E. Yoshio Utsomi, Ms. Shirin Ebadi, etc.

But the highlight of the plenary were comments by the Swiss President. These comments received roaring applause from the civil society section of the plenary hall, when he said:

...It is unacceptable that the UN still has members that harass or imprison their citizens because they criticize them on the Internet. Freedom of speech has to be respected. Everyone has to be able to express their views freely. It is one of the crucial conditions for this conference to succeed...

Obviously, he was referring to recent acts of repressing civil society by Tunisian authorities.

As members of the civil society, we salute the Swiss President for his courage to publicly criticize and voice opposition to the way that Tunisian authorities have treated the civil society so far.

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