" It is not normal that the journalists are in prison. There has been a revolution [editor's NOTE : the hirak] for a State of law and freedoms, including freedom of expression, but the political system continues to journalists who have an editorial line that is displeasing, " said the lawyer Mustapha Bouchachi. This explains that for many of the defenders of human rights, the freedom of the press and of expression is deteriorating in Algeria, on the background of the suspension of the popular movement (hirak) anti-diet and health crisis, with journalists in detention, and censorship of online media.
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On the occasion of the world Day of freedom of the press, Sunday, several NGOS and political parties have urged the algerian authorities to put an end to the lawsuits and to release the imprisoned journalists, including Khaled Drareni, become unwillingly a symbol of the struggle for freedom of the press. "At a time where all eyes, at national and international level, scrutinize the management of the pandemic Covid-19, the algerian authorities have dedicated time to speed up prosecutions and trials against activists, journalists and supporters of the movement, the hirak" said on Thursday Heba Morayef, the director of Amnesty International for the Middle East and North Africa.
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The defenders of freedom of expression are also denouncing the "harassment targeting independent media, some of which are accused by the authorities of being funded by" foreign organizations ". Three online media algerians, assets in the cover of the hirak, have been the target of censorship : both sites of the Interface group Media, Maghreb Emergent, and the Web radio Radio M, and the site information general Spaces. "Journalists and pro-democracy activists are locked in patterns as varied and diverse, when in reality, it is just the expression of peaceful opinions, their is punishment ", stressed Thursday the journalist Akram Belkaïd, in his column in the Daily of Oran, French-language newspaper independent. "These initiatives coups are part of the same objective, which is to silence the Algerians and tell them that the fifty-six weeks of the hirak were a parenthesis ", he says.
snuffing out the hirak in the wake of the Covid-19
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For power, there is a lot of noise for nothing "
The belgian authorities deny any hindrance, ensuring on the contrary, by the voice of the minister of Communications, Ammar Belhimer, an ex-journalist, that the algerian State supports "heavily" freedom of the press. "There are 8 000 journalists, and for three or four of them that are not part of the national press but the foreign press, funded from abroad, there has been a lot of racket around violations of the freedom of the press ", explained the president Abdelmadjid Tebboune during a meeting with the national media broadcast Friday night on the radio and television stations. "We're talking about national sovereignty. They are bringing foreign funding to break institutions. What are the developed countries, the democratic countries which accept it [...] why should we accept it ? " insisted the head of State to journalists of the private press and public.
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Algeria figure to the 146th (out of 180) in the world ranking of press freedom 2020 established by RSF. She tumbled 27 places compared to 2015 (119th). For Me Bouchachi, a former president of the algerian League of human rights (LADH), there is " no real willingness to move towards change, openness and the rule of law ". "The power has not the will to reconcile the Algerians and to go to another Algeria. On the contrary, it is the status quo ", he said to the AFP.
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