A Tunisian court on Thursday fined the director of a TV station to $1,550 for airing the Franco-Iranian film Persepolis, which Islamic activists saw as an insult to Islam as it contains a scene that depicts God.
The fine came as a relief to many, as the charges could have carried up to three years in jail.
Nabil Karoui, head of the private TV station Nessma, was found guilty of “disturbing public order and harming moral values” by screening the film in question.
The depiction of God or Islam’s Prophet Mohamed, or any of his family members or close followers is prohibited and some ultra-conservatives see it as “blasphemy.”
Attacks on the TV station’s headquarters in the capital Tunisia and Karoui’s home followed the screening of the film.
Rising Islamic voices that followed the ousting of former President Zine Abideen Ben Ali has brought worries for the international community. The US has expressed its concern over the sentence that they saw as endangering media freedom.
“Karoui’s conviction raises serious concerns about tolerance and freedom of expression in the new Tunisia,” American ambassador Gordon Gray said in a statement.
By Manar Ammar
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