The International Federation of Journalists protested today against the suspension of seven Algerian independent dailies warning that the action has “a sinister tone” and threatens press freedom. The decision to suspend the newspapers has been officially justified as due to commercial reasons.
But the newspapers affected are all independent publications. Le Soir d’Algérie, Liberté, El-Watan, Le Matin, El-Khabar, l’Expression and Er-Raï, were notified in the course of last week with a warning to pay their debts to the States’ owned printing houses or incur suspension.
“The decision to suspend seven among the most popular independent dailies is unacceptable”, says the IFJ General Secretary Aidan White, “and undoubtedly the real reason for this punitive action lies elsewhere. This is a bureaucratic manoeuvre to silence the free press in Algeria.”
The suspension of the dailies has provoked widespread condemnation within the Algerian independent media community and civil society with some political groups seeing this decision as a clear governmental attempt to interfere with the editorial position of these newspapers in advance of next year’s elections.
“Algerian journalists have already suffered enough. They do not need this latest dose of intimidation which sharply contradicts the commitment made by the Algerian government to continue on the road to press freedom and democracy” says Aidan White. “We call upon the Algerian authorities to revoke this decision immediately“.
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The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 100 countries