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In countries where the press is rigidly controlled, the Internet has opened a window for greater freedom of expression and communication.
In a Tunisian Internet café, not far from where the second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society is being held in November 2005, there hangs a portrait of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
This report was researched and written by Elijah Zarwan, a consultant for Human Rights Watch.
Eric Goldstein, a senior researcher in Human Rights Watch's Middle East and North Africa Division, Hadi Ghaemi, Human Rights Watch's Iran researcher, Joe Stork, Washington advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa Division of Human Rights Watch, Dinah Po Kempner, Human Rights Watch's general counsel, and Joe Saunders, Human Rights Watch's deputy program director, edited this report and contributed research.
This report is dedicated to the writers and activists who spoke to Human Rights Watch in the course of the research that went in to it, often taking great risks to do so.
The speed with which the Internet has spread throughout the Middle East and North Africa testifies to the region's appetite for alternative means of getting and transmitting information.