Freezing The Press

by Chris Bodenner

A troubling sign out of Tunisia:

Tunisia’s interim government abruptly shut down the country’s oldest and most popular private television network on Sunday evening, in an apparent violation of its pledges to respect freedom of expression after the ouster of the authoritarian president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali.

But the Hannibal network, founded about five years ago, was better known for conflict than coziness with the former government, losing certain soccer broadcast rights to state television or the right to broadcast a talk show too similar to one on state television. And since Mr. Ben Ali’s ouster, its news and political program has hardly celebrated the former president, but rather echoed the widespread calls to eradicate the old ruling party from the interim government.