Tunesian webmaster convicted
Zouhair Yahyaoui, founder of the Tunesian online-magazine Tunezine
has been sentenced to two years and four months in prison. Yahyaoui,
who went under the pseudonym of Ettounsi (the Tunesian) was arrested
in an Internet café in Tunis. The satirical magazine criticised
the Tunesian government. The webmaster is being held responsible
for all the dissident opinions on the site’s forum page. Tunesia
has a strange form of media censorship. Yahyaoui’s conviction
is one of the government’s attempts to control Internet information.
Does Zimbabwan law apply to the Internet?
A correspondent of the British newspaper The Guardian,
Andrew Meldrum, is being charged in Zimbabwe with publishing misinformation.
A new media law took effect in Zimbabwe in March: The Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Journalists that publish
incorrect information can be subject to fines or prison terms. Critics
believe that any information that does not please the party of president
Robert Mugabe will be considered misinformation.
One interesting aspect of Meldrums case is that the article being
denounced was only published on The Guardian’s web site. The
lawyer for the correspondent claims that Zimbabwe’s laws do
not apply to the Internet and that, in fact, it was the Zimbabwe
police officers themselves who introduced the piece into the country
by downloading it.
First western production in China
A Broadway/West End musical is playing onstage in China for the
first time. At the end of June a three-week run of Les
Misérables started in the new Shanghai Grand Theatre.
The Chinese authorities were captivated by the political theme of
the theatre show. The novel by Frenchman Victor Hugo, on which the
musical is based, is also very popular in China. The cast of the
English language production comes primarily from New York.
American celebrities stand up against president Bush
At least seventy leading Americans have signed a declaration in
which they attempt to distance themselves from President Bush. The
group consists of filmmakers, singers, actors, writers, university
graduates, and representatives of religious groups. In Not
in our name they criticise the American government’s reaction
to the September 11th attacks. They condemn Bush’s ‘simplistic’
distinction between good and evil, the right he has appropriated
to intervene militarily anywhere he wishes in world and the disregard
with which specific immigrants have been handled since September
in the US. The signatories include Noam Chomsky, Edward Said, Adrienne
Rich, Gloria Steinem, Mos Def, Eve Ensler and Alice Walker.
Gay Pride parade in Jerusalem
Residents of Jerusalem are witnessing the first gay pride parade
in their city. The parade, in which several thousand male and female
homosexuals are participating, was organised by Jerusalem
Open House (JOH) - an organisation that wants to unite Jewish,
Christian and Islamic homosexuals. The motto of the parade was ‘love
The organisers also wanted to see Jerusalem in the news for once
as a place of hope and unity. The city constantly appears in the
media because of the violence that takes place there. Out of fear
of attack, the residents of Jerusalem hardly dare to venture outdoors.
The fact that so many people are willing to congregate in public
makes this event even more extraordinary.
Different orthodox groups opposed the parade. The city government
was also upset. They were afraid that the ‘sick souls’
would sully the holy character of the city.
French performance against hostage-taking
At the Fifth International Performance Festival in the Colombian
city of Cali, Pierre Pinoncelli cut off a piece of his little finger.
The French artist did this out of solidarity with politician Ingrid
Betancourt, who was kidnapped in February of 2002 by the Colombian
rebel forces Farc. The finger is now at the Calinese museum of modern
art La Tertulia.
Homosexual hero in a British children’s book
A children’s book has appeared on the British market with
a homosexual main character. In ‘Strange Boy’ the British
literature professor Paul
Magrs writes about the 10-year old David who likes boys rather
than girls. Given the controversial character of the book it is
remarkable that it is being published by the major publishing house
of Simon and Schuster.
Dutch cultural heritage monitors will travel with the military
The Dutch Ministry of Defence is going to send cultural experts
along with the military on humanitarian missions. Professionals
in the area of museums, libraries and monuments are to make recommendations
on how cultural treasures can be protected and recovered in areas
affected by war or disaster. The ministry will co-operate with the
Dutch branch of the International
Committee of the Blue Shield - a Unesco organisation for the
protection of cultural treasures in countries that are ravaged by
armed conflicts or natural disasters.
Argentinean opera for an apple and an egg
The legendary Teatro
Colon in Buenos Aires asked for food rather than money as admission
to a performance on the first Sunday in June. After demonstrators
had disrupted a performance the week before, the management decided
to lend a hand to poor fellow countrymen. Visitors to the opera
house were requested to bring non-perishable foodstuffs as admission.
An aid organisation distributed the food among the poor. Since the
economic crisis in Argentina half the population is living in poverty.
Sources: NRC Handelsblad,
to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Gay.org,