Casablanca - The prominent press rights organization Reporters Without Borders has denounced the ‘Invisible Hand’ that controls the media in Algeria in its latest report presented last Thursday in Paris.
Casablanca – The prominent press rights organization Reporters Without Borders has denounced the ‘Invisible Hand’ that controls the media in Algeria in its latest report presented last Thursday in Paris.
The investigative report was based on 20 interviews conducted between May and October 2016 in Algiers and Oran, Algeria, showing the evolution of the Algerian freedom of the press since 2014.
“Since 2014, the media most targeted by political pressures are those that opposed the re-election of Mr Bouteflika for a fourth mandate, such as El Watan and El Khabar. Pressures take the form of verbal threats made by high officials, restrictions to the right to inform imposed on foreign media outlets, and most recently, Internet smear campaigns and serious threats against journalists,” the report states.
Earlier this month, crowds gathered to mourn Mohamed Tamalt, a journalist who died while in prison. Tamalt was sentence to two years in prison for offending Bouteflika in multiple controversial Facebook posts.
Algerian authorities, says the report, “openly intimidates journalists.”
“The media regularly receive verbal attacks and threats even coming from politicians of the highest caliber. This creates a particularly damaging climate of tension and fear,” RSF adds. “These threats that often masquerade as «lack of professionalism» are mostly geared towards media attention to highly sensitive topics such as the health of Mr. Abdelaziz Bouteflika, corruption scandals, or the luxurious assets of leaders abroad.”
At the end of the report, RSF makes a set of recommendations to Algerian authorities, namely to “Initiate an independent inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death of Mohamed Tamalt to ensure that those responsible are punished as soon as possible” and, in sum, to stop threatening journalists and politicians, thus allowing for freedom of the press.