Majalat
Tunisia
Good governance and rule of law

Tunisian President Kais Saied issued a decree on Friday introducing a five-year prison sentence and a heavy fine for anyone spreading “false information” or “rumours” online.

Published in the Official Gazette of the Tunisian Republic (JORT), the text provides for a prison sentence of five years and a fine of 50,000 Tunisian dinars (15,500 euros) for anyone “who deliberately uses communication networks and information systems to produce, promote, publish or send false information or rumours.” The text explains that this penalty is aimed at anyone who uses false information to “undermine the rights of others, public order, national defence or to cause fear among the population.”

As soon as it was published, the text was heavily criticised by Internet users in particular, who explained that it could be used by the government to oppress the press or silence dissident voices.