Tunisian court fines newspaper publisher over photo

March 8, 2012 19:48


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TUNIS - A Tunisian court fined a newspaper publisher 1,000 dinars ($665) on Thursday for printing a photograph of a footballer frolicking with his nude girlfriend, raising fears of a media crackdown by the country's new Islamist rulers.

The Attounissia newspaper, a tabloid set up after the revolution that ousted Zine al-Abdine Ben Ali, published a photograph last month of German-Tunisian footballer Sami Khedira of Real Madrid dressed in a tuxedo with his hands covering the breasts of his naked German model girlfriend, Lena Gercke.The photograph angered the country's public prosecutor who ordered the detention of the publisher Nasreddine Ben Saida, and two senior journalists at the newspaper. The journalists were quickly released but Ben Saida spent eight days behind bars before a court hearing on February 24 that freed him on bail.

In Thursday's hearing, he was fined 1,000 dinars for offending public morals and taste by publishing the photo, the official TAP news agency reported.

"The ruling is unfair as there was no intention to provoke and the issue is related simply to publishing the news," TAP quoted Ben Saida as saying.

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