Press Conference : Journalists in prison, Crisis for Algeria

<CENTER>Can Press Freedom Survive When Publishers and Campaigning Journalists Become Political Targets?

THURSDAY 24 June 2004,

Résidence Palace (Salon) – 11.00 AM</CENTER>

Two Algerian journalists, Mohammed Benchicou (Director of Le Matin) and Hafnaoui Ghoul (journalist and regional representative of the Human rights league in Djelfa) have been jailed in Algeria in a blow to press freedom which the International Federation of Journalists describes as “a barbaric assault on press freedom”.

The actions have shocked journalists and press freedom campaigners around the world. What is the future of press freedom in Algeria? Is there a political witch-hunt against independent journalism?

A delegation of leading Algerian journalists and media professionals comes to Brussels to voice their concerns. You are asked to come and meet them and to hear first hand about the media crisis in Algeria, in particular for private media.

A special press conference and media debate is being organised by Journalists at your Service, the Brussels-based alliance of journalists' groups – the IFJ, the AGJPB/AVBB (Belgian Journalists Union), the International Press Association, the European Journalism Centre and the Brussels branch of the NUJ. It will be held in partnership with the International Press Centre, Residence Palace, next Thursday morning (10.30 am) June 24th at the Salon room (Metro Schuman).

Chair: Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary

Speakers: Zoubir Souissi, Council of Ethics

Ali Yahia Abdannour, President of the Algerian League of Human Rights

Rabah Abdallah, Gen. Sec., Algerian Journalists’ Union

Omar Bellouchet, Director of El Watan

Ali Djerri, Director of El Khabar

Fouad Boughanem , Director of the daily Le Soir d’Algérie

Ali 0uafek , Director of the daily Liberté

Fatiha Benchicou, Journalist, wife of jailed journalist Mohammed Benchicou, Director of Le Matin

Plus: Editor in Chief of Le Matin and representatives of the European Union institutions (to be confirmed).

Info: International Federation of Journalists -- 02 235 22 00