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Biography of Sihem BENSEDRINE

Tunisia > Media : Sihem BENSEDRINE

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Born on 28/10/1950 (format : day/month/year)

Biography :

Sihem Bensedrine born October 28, 1950, is a Tunisian journalist who was strongly opposed toBen Ali and his regime. An untiring human rights activist, she has been persecuted by the Tunisian police for years. She has been the victim of a slanderous, defamatory, sexist, and racist press campaign and has been beaten several times while in police custody.


Sihem Bensedrine has been a prominent human rights and free press activist in Tunisia since the 1980s. Educated in the University of Toulouse in France, Bensedrine began her career in the independent press and eventually became editor-in-chief of five newspapers, a few of which are online "Kalima". With freedom of speech and government reform in mind, Bensedrine founded the Conseil National pour less Libertes en Tenisie in 1998 and the group Observatoire de la Liberte de la Presse, de L’Edition et de la Creation in 2000. She was given the International Press Freedom Award by the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression as well as the Danish Peace Fund Prize.

Starting from 1999, Bensedrine and her newspapers have been exposed to many government attacks, both physically and judicially. Her online paper Kalima was discontinued, along with several of her publications, the first year it was created. She was portrayed as a prostitute by the government because of her publications and statements. Her passport was confiscated for three years and she was put under heavy surveillance with no internet or telephone access. In 2000, she was jailed and tortured by Tunisian police, which resulted in “ several broken ribs, an injury to her spinal cord and black eyes.” Then in 2001, Bensedrine was imprisoned for six weeks on the charges of “defamation” and spreading “false news” on an Arab TV station in London. In 2004, three men attacked her at an internet café in Paris. The incident is believed to have been orchestrated by the Tunisian police.

Bensedrine is the General Secretary of the Observatory for the Defense of the Freedom of the Press, Publishing and Creation (OLPEC), which is a member of Reporters Without Borders. Bensedrine is also a recipient of the 2001 Sakharov Prize.

Last update : 02/10/2011

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