Tunisia's president on Friday decreed a law imposing prison terms for spreading false information or rumours online, a move immediately denounced by the main journalists' union as an assault on freedom of speech.
President Kais Saied had said he would uphold the rights and freedoms won by Tunisians in a 2011 revolution that brought democracy after his moves last summer to seize most powers and shut down the elected parliament.
His new law on Friday, issued as a presidential decree, provided for prison terms of five years for spreading false news, false information or rumours with the aim of attacking others, harming public security or generating terror.
If the target of the false information or rumours is an official, the prison term can be 10 years, his new law said.
The decree is a new setback for rights and freedoms. The penalties for publishing in any networks are a strong blow to the revolutionary values that granted freedom to all journalists and all Tunisians, said Mahdi Jlassi, the journalists' union head./REUTERS