Censorship in Algeria

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The working conditions of journalists in Algeria have evolved since the 1962 independence. After 1990, the Code of Press was suppressed, allowing for greater freedom of press. However, with the civil war in the 1990s, more than 70 journalists were assassinated, by Islamists. Sixty journalists were killed between 1993 and 1998 in Algeria.[1]

1990s-2000s[edit]

Recently, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has ordered several newspapers closures, imprisoned journalists such as Mohammad Benchicou, director of Le Matin and author of a critical biography of Bouteflika, and forced others reporters into exile, mostly in France.

Reporters Without Borders's (RSF in French) index for freedom of press gives approximatively 40 for Algeria since five years (although the figure has increased, signifying a lesser freedom of press). Along with L'Humanité newspaper, RWF did denounce the imprisonment of Mohammad Benchicou, director of Le Matin, who was sentenced to two years of prison for denouncing corruption in Algeria. Benchicou was awarded in 2006 the PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award.

In recent years Algeria has seen many attacks on freedom of press, apart from Mohammad Benchicou's imprisonment. The La Tribune newspaper was closed in 1996 [2] and the Sam blog was censored in March 2006.[3] El Watan also suffered from attacks from the Algerian state in 1998.[4] Its reporters have, according to RSF and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), been targeted by both government forces and Islamist insurgents.[5][6] Journalists from Liberté and from Le Matin were forced into exile in France.[7]

February 2007 symposium on disappearances[edit]

The authorities blocked on February 7, 2007 a symposium titled "Pour la Vérité, la Paix et la Conciliation" (For Truth, Peace and Conciliation) organised by the CFDA (Collectif des familles de disparus en Algérie, Collective of the Families of Disappeared People in Algeria), SOS Disparus, Djazairouna, the ANFD (Association nationale des familles de disparus) and Somoud. This new form of censorship on a conference concerning the "disappearances" which occurred during the civil war in the 1990s has been criticized by the ACAT-France (Action des Chrétiens pour l'abolition de la torture), the International Federation of Human Rights (IFHR), and the World Organization Against Torture (WOAT). Furthermore, critics of the controversial Charter for Peace and National Reconciliation, adopted on September 29, 2006, have been targeted by the authorities, who use various methods of intimidation, including courtsuits, on lawyers and human rights defenders.[8]

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