The incidence of imprisonment of journalists continues the decline of media freedoms in Algeria | Saber Bledi

Algeria – Algeria’s progress in the Classification of Reporters Without Borders has not been accompanied by the removal of concerns about press freedoms and the end of the imprisonment of journalists in the country, where the situation is showing an unprecedented decline, according to the consensus of several actors and local and international reports.

The deterioration comes especially after the amendments made to the Criminal Code in recent years under the pretext of combating false news and disturbing social stability and peace.

Algeria scores 12 points in the press freedom doctrine announced by Reporters Without Borders on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, as it ranked 134th after being 146th last year, but does not reflect the reality of media freedoms , which has taken disturbing trends in recent times.The latter, especially with the widespread imprisonment of journalists.

Algeria’s power discourse is always aimed at aligning the local media with its orientations and transforming it into supportive arms, as Communications Minister Mohamed Bouslimani said in a statement on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day “the need for the media to defend the stable and balanced positions of the state, ”while The narrowing is done to the point that the platforms that adopt an anti-authoritarian line suffocate.

The French-speaking newspaper, Liberty, was the last of the platforms to disappear permanently after three decades of publication, in circumstances shrouded in much mystery. The government also did not intervene to save it as a democratic gain that must be continued not. .

The Report Without Borders report did not reflect the elements of Algeria’s 12-step progress in the classification system, but on the contrary, it believes that “press freedoms have deteriorated in a worrying way in Algeria and the imprisonment of journalists a general has become a phenomenon. “

“Independent media are constantly under pressure and journalists are regularly jailed or prosecuted, not to mention the blocking of many websites,” he added.

The advertising market is still monopolized by the state, and the government’s map is still in control of the local media, as it is used to direct the editorial lines of the various newspaper and electronic media and put it in a supportive arm for its political discourse, which led to the dominance of a closed media scene about the opposition or the discourse that critical authority in its political, economic and social options.

Many journalists interested in political and human rights issues are in jail, while others have served prison sentences, such as Khaled Darrani and Abdel Karim Zguilish, for their interest in reporting and covering popular protests against the government while the charges were against them. adapted to exploit the journalistic work by spreading false news and threatening peace and social stability.

Darzani after completing his prison sentence

The report pointed out that “freedom of the press in Algeria faces many red lines, the mere reference to corruption or the suppression of protests will cost journalists threats and arrests.”

He said that “the reality of press freedom has never seen such a decline, as independent media are constantly under pressure and journalists are regularly imprisoned or prosecuted, not to mention the blocking measures that affect many websites. “

A team of independent Radio M was recently arrested and investigated by security services in the Tipaza governor (west of the capital) after it was on a mission to conduct a journalistic investigation into the social conditions in the Hajout suburb, the birthplace of the late prisoner of conscience Hakim Debazi, who died in the Qleia prison in the capital and is in a state of temporary detention after being accused of posting on Facebook.

Reporters Without Borders’ report highlighted the legislative framework of the Algerian media, as it tended to “restrict journalistic work more and more. As Article 54 of the Constitution guarantees freedom of the press, it also requires the media to constants and its religious, moral and cultural values, which threaten the freedom of the press. ” openly journalists.

The Penal Code, which was amended in 2020, provides for “a prison sentence of between one and three years for anyone who intentionally publishes false or malicious news or information that would harm security and public order or in any way.”

The report said that the clause is regularly used to prosecute and sentence journalists, leading to a context in which censorship and self-censorship are widespread.

The report pointed out that “the threats and methods of intimidation against journalists are constantly increasing, due to the absence of a mechanism that provides them with the necessary protection, especially journalists who criticize the authorities as they run the risk of arbitrary detention, espionage or eavesdropping. ”

The government is preparing a new media law, which is expected to be referred to Parliament soon, and which deals with paper and electronic media, and the audiovisual sector, according to the prescriptions issued by President Abdelmadjid Tebboune at the last the government has given. cabinet meeting.

The television media in Algeria are still living in an exceptional situation. Since the launch of the field for private investment in the public sector in 2011 under the influence of the Arab Spring wave, no regulatory texts have been released allowing local satellite channels to establish professional and social status, as they have hitherto been regarded as foreign media The fact that it has been relocated to Arab and European cities and capitals.

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