Algeria’s Ministry of Communication has revoked the license of French broadcaster M6 after it aired a documentary about the Hirak protests.
Rabat – Algeria’s Ministry of Communication decided on Monday to revoke the license of French television channel M6 after it aired a documentary on the country’s 2019/2020 Hirak protest movement. The ministry released a statement accusing the commercial French broadcaster of misrepresenting the Hirak (movement) protests and shooting the footage without appropriate authorization.
The M6 channel, which broadcasts commercial television shows including X-Factor and Top Chef to millions of Algerian households, will no longer be able to operate in the country. The statement by Algeria’s Ministry of Communication alleges the broadcaster filmed in the country without a license. The statement claims M6 used forged licenses and provided a distorted view of the protest movement that led to the downfall of former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.
The Algerian Ministry of Communication stated it was taking action against the French television channel effective immediately. “This precedent compels us to take a decision to prevent the M6 channel from operating in Algeria in any way,” the statement says. The ministry alleges that a French journalist accompanied by an Algerian handler illegally filmed the popular movement.
The ministry said that the French channel’s investigative journalism team had requested permission to film in Algeria in March for a documentary on tourism and multiculturalism in the city of Oran. Algerian authorities rejected the request but are now presenting it as evidence of M6 misrepresenting its intentions in the country.
M6 broadcast the 75-minute documentary titled “Algeria: Country of Revolutions” on Sunday, September 20 and featured the story of three young Algerians amid the protest movement. The Ministry of Communication accused two of the featured Algerians of being pro-Western while framing the other as supporting the creation of an Islamic state in Algeria.
The ministry’s statement highlights a retraction of one of the participants. She made a statement on social media saying the filmmakers had misled her regarding the topic of the French documentary.
Algeria is currently at a strange impasse between the post-Bouteflika government and the supporters of the Hirak movement. On the one hand the government claims its new constitution is a direct redress of the movement’s concerns. On the other, it continues to silence and jail Hirak supporters.Parliament recently approved a new constitution which is set for a referendum on November 1.
The government has presented the new constitution as a direct result of demands from the movement. However, the new constitution is yet to see public scrutiny and many view current leadership as mere remnants of the corrupt politicians that the Hirak protests aimed to depose.