Tunisian activists pounced on the latest Wikileaks US Embassy Cables, dedicating a new website to republish and discuss the revelations related to their country. Tunileaks, was launched by Nawaat one hour after the whistle-blowing site unleashed the cables on Sunday, November 28th.
The first release contained 17 cables issued from the US Embassy in Tunisia. The majority of these cables show the exchanges between the embassy and the US State Department. The classified documents were transmitted between May 28th, 2008, and February 9th, 2010. Two of the documents were written by the present Ambassador Gordon Gray whereas the remaining 15 were by his predecessor.
They mainly dealt with the neglect of human rights in Tunisia and the restrictions on freedom of expression. On Twitter, the hashtag #tunileaks was created. There, people shared different secrets revealed by the site.
The documents also reveal personal secrets about the ruling family and their close circle.
The Tunisian government, known for its restriction on freedom of expression, rapidly blocked the access to Tunileaks. They first blocked http://tunileaks.appspot.com/ ( without the https). One day later, they blocked Google App Engine’s IP address (22.214.171.124) in order to block Tunileaks under https, making appspot.com partially unavailable in the country.
Even the electronic version of the Lebanese newspaper ‘Al akhbar’ has been censored in Tunisia after the publication of some cables released by Tunileaks.
Will more of the Tunisian cyberspace become restricted as more cables and secrets are revealed and published?
Lina Ben Mhenni
Published on Global Voices Online