Since April 9, two news sites, Maghreb Émergent (which was launched since 2010) and Radiom.info (linked to the Internet radio of the same name, launched in 2013), have been censored by the Algerian authorities.
At the beginning, the Ministry of Communication accused the concerned media of benefiting from foreign funding. The editor defended himself by accusing the concerned minister of defamation and raised the possibility of filing a complaint, stating that “The attempt to harm him and silence him is a blatant attack against liberty claimed by the Algerians”.
On April 16, rather than directing foreign funding accusations, the Ministry of Communication accused these media outlets of the offense of defamation against the President of the Republic.
The Minister made reference to an opinion article, published on the Maghreb Emergent news site on April 5, entitled “100 days of misfortune of Abdelmadjid Tebboune” and in which the author, El-Kadi Ihsane, draws up a severe observation of the balance sheet of the Head of State since his investiture last December. Under article 144 bis of the penal code, El-Kadi Ihsane is liable to a fine of between 100,000 and 500,000 DA.
The Algerian League for the Defense of Human Rights (LADDH for its French acronym) denounced such acts calling it “Censorship, harassment of journalists and attacks on freedoms of expression and opinion continue”.
LADDH recalled the imprisonment of several journalists, including Khaled Drareniet Sofiane Merakchi.
“One more step has been taken in this dangerous escalation of repression and serious violations of the rights enshrined in the constitution and the international human rights covenants that were ratified by Algeria”, noted LADDH.
LADDH also challenged the government to “respect fundamental rights and to stop such campaign, which only exacerbates the atmosphere of mistrust in these times of pandemic which should be characterised by serenity and national solidarity instead”.