Algerian state media promote stability in Libya and Mali while fomenting separatism and provocation regarding Morocco
Rabat – A new study has provided scientific evidence of Algeria’s media strategy that promotes stability in Mali and Libya while celebrating separatism in Morocco’s south. The new study provides a deep discourse analysis by Professor Mohammed Mliless and was published in the Journal of the Geopolitics and Geostrategic Intelligence.
The study evaluates the role of Algeria’s national press service as a tool of the country’s pseudo-military regime. It evaluated months of Algerian press releases for agenda-setting, framing and priming narratives that aim to influence its domestic audience.
The results of the study have revealed a deep and purposeful schizophrenia exercised by Algeria’s press officers at the national press agency. Not only does the study reveal the innate contradictions in the agency’s discourse, but it laid bare the propagandistic agenda-setting efforts that Algeria’s state media engage in.
Promoting stability in Mali and Libya
The Algerian Press Service adopts strikingly diverging approaches depending on which neighboring country it covers. The study reveals that Algeria aims to present itself as a “peacebuilder state that strives to preserve stability, souvrainty, and unity of Libya and Mali.”
When dealing with its southern and eastern neighbors, the Algerian press service emphasizes the importance of national unity, urges domestic stability, and calls for regional peace. The national press service highlights Algerian efforts toward international dialogue and against regional non-state actors such as the local chapter of Al Qaeda and ISIS.
The study’s authors emphasize that “for the first time since its independence, Algeria is truly facing potential cross-border threats from Libya, Tunisia and Mali.” In response the national press service has called for dialogue while warning about the threat of separist groups and the emergence of local terrorist groups.
Mali receives a similar response. Algeria’s press service has with great auction called for non-interference in the affairs of its southern neighbor. Furthermore the state press has repeatedly stated that “national reconciliation” and a recognition of Mali’s “social stability, and integrity of Malian territories are among the priorities of the Algeria people.“
Fomenting discord and conflict in Morocco
But when it comes to Algeria’s western neighbor, the country’s national press takes the complete opposite approach. When covering Morocco, the Algerian press service openly opts to promote conflict with the specific aim of destabilizing and eventually encircling its Western neighbor, according to the new study.
Algeria’s press service uses its communication to influence public actors and officials and other stakeholders through an “agenda-setting” strategy. Through a torrent of negative reporting that directly contradicts its messaging toward Mali and Libya, state media aim to turn priorities of the regime into elements of the domestic discourse.
The national press service that is tasked with adequately informing citizens is instead used to “frame” issues in a particular light that is favorable to the country’s elite. Algeria’s press service repeatedly frames issues to promote secession and instability in Morocco’s south while at the same time promoting stability, security and sovereignty in Mali and Libya.
Furthermore, Algeria’s state press primes its readers to influence the judgements and attitudes of its domestic audience.
“Priming” is an essential part of agenda-setting efforts and aims to promote Algeria as a good-faith actor and peacebuilder in the region. The press service uses “fabricated historical, social, and economic situations” to present a skewed view of the country’s diplomacy in the region.
Promoting separatism in Western Sahara
Algeria’s communication that promotes peace and stability in LIbya and Mali stands in stark contrast with its efforts to promote conflict and instability in Western Sahara. While news regarding Morocco is nearly universally hostile, regarding Western Sahara it actively promotes regional interference and armed conflict.
Non-state actors in Mali and Libya are presented as terrorists and threats to regional peace and prosperity, but Algeria’s proxy militia in Western Sahara is treated as both victim and freedom fighter.
It describes Algeria’s stance as a “noble position” in “solidarity” with a legitimate struggle for self-determination while at the same time condemning similar seperatist groups in other countries. Algeria’s state press presents its pseudo-military regime as a force for peace and security while at the same time presenting Morocco as a colonizing “rogue state.”
Algeria regularly jails its critics and activists, as many human rights reports have documented. But its state media only has time to decry alleged human rights abuses in Western Sahara while promoting the Polisario Front as a force for “peace and democracy.” The study reveals the deeply political nature of Algeria’s state media as a tool for propaganda and misinformation that obfuscates the country’s role in stirring conflict.
Diverting attention from domestic crises
The new study comes at a time when Algerian state propaganda is becoming ever more desperate and needlessly confrontational. Algeria faces intertwined crises in its national economy. These include an overstressed healthcare sector, declining living standards amid rapidly declining foreign currency reserves, as well as a failing economic model based on hydrocarbon exports.
With little resources left to appease its population, Algeria’s regime appears to have chosen a two-pronged approach that aims to crush domestic criticism while diverting attention towards imagined foreign threats.
As such, Algeria’s state press has decried Morocco’s recent diplomatic victories as a direct threat to Algeria, going as far as imaging a direct Israeli military threat on its Western border.
In recent days Algerian press have attempted to escalate tensions with Morocco even further. Through pointless provocations it now aims to trigger a further escalation of the war of words with its western neighbor.
Yesterday, Algerian media reached a new low by presenting Morocco’s monarch in effigy as part of a comedic television program. Algeria’s Echourouk news program attempted to ridicule Morocco’s monarch by picturing him as a muppet-like puppet. It was a clear attempt to provoke Morocco’s nearly four-century old Alaouite dynasty.
While Morocco’s level-headed diplomacy in the region will clearly not be affected by such desperate attempts to insult and provoke, the event again reveals the Algerian propaganda machine’s increasingly desperate tactics.
Amid a swirling vortex of devastating crises in leadership, the economy and health, Algeria’s elite appear to offer few solutions beside its sad provocations towards Morocco. While promoting separatism and conflict in Western Sahara, Algeria risks destabilizing not just itself but the region as a whole though needless provocations and endless propaganda.