“I want to tell all Tunisians: We have to unite to say no to censorship and opinion trials.” - Lina Ben Mhenni (2013 interview)
Lina Ben Mhenni was a Tunisian blogger, activist and linguistics lecturer. She was vocal against internet censorship, defended the freedom of expression and was an advocate for women’s and human rights. Lina also fought for the release of students arrested under former President Zine El Abidine.
“It’s true that information and the internet are important but being on the ground is crucial for a revolution. Some people here in Tunisia think that change can occur just by clicking like on the internet. I believe you have to be active on the ground. And of course, join actions on the field with the action on the web.” - Lina Ben Mhenni (Interview in POCIT)
In 2010, she co-organized a protest that challenged the government suppression of media and internet censorship. Lina was widely known for her blog “A Tunisian Girl” and recognized for her work during the Tunisian revolution in 2011. In her blog, she reported on the news from the uprising, shared images documenting protests and was among the few voices who spoke about the killings and crackdown on protesters in Sidi Bouzid. Lina blogged using her real name instead of a pseudonym to protect her identity, one of only a few bloggers to do so.
“Our freedom of expression is in real danger. I am afraid that we are losing the unique fruits of the revolution: the disappearance of fear and our freedom of speech. We have to keep on fighting to protect and preserve this right.” — Lina Ben Mhenni (2013 interview)
Lina was only 36 years old when she passed away on 27 January 2020, as a result of complications from an autoimmune disease.
"Freedom, better education and health - that's all we wanted. When we failed, she pushed us." Lina’s school teacher Hala.