3 May 2006, European Parliament: Meeting on Press Freedom in Algeria



Focus : Media Abuses in ALGERIA

In recognition of World Press Freedom Day on 3 May, the International Federation of Journalists is holding a meeting/press conference dedicated to press freedom in Algeria.

WHERE : European Parliament, Room PHS 1 C 51, Rue Wiertz, Brussels

WHEN : Wednesday 3 May, 11.00 am to 12.00 pm

There have been numerous attacks on press freedom in Algeria since the reelection of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in 2004. The most blatant case is that of Mohamed Benchicou, a journalist and director of daily newspaper « Le Matin », who has been imprisoned for two years for reasons that have been denounced by many independent observers. Biased judges have supported a political regime that systematically censors journalists.

More than 20 journalists have been sentenced to prison terms in Algeria in 2005 and 2006 : Farid Alilat (1 year) ; Fouad Boughanem (1 year) ; Sid Ahmed Sémiane (1 year) ; Kamel Amarni (1 year) ; Ali Dilem (1 year; Malika Boussouf (6 months) ; Hakim Laalam (6 months) ; Nacer Belhadjoudja (6 months) ; Mohamed Benchicou (5 months and in jail since 2004) ; Yasmine Ferroukhi (3 months) ; Youcef Rezzoug (3 months) ; Djameleddine Benchenouf (3 months) ; Abla Chérif (2 months) ; Badis Massaoui (2 months) ; Hassane Zerrouki (2 months) ; Ghanem Khemis (2 months) ; Abdelkader Djemâa (2 months) ; and Abder Bettache (2 months).

Dozen of other journalists have been given suspended sentences, forcing them to self-censor their own work to avoid being sent to jail.

This meeting on World Press Freedom Day will provide information on the state of media control and intimidation in Algeria and include a question and answer period.

Introduction: M. Francis WURTZ, MEP, President of the GUE/NGL Group


- Mr. Arezky METREF, Journalist at Soir d’Algérie and member of the Support Committee for Mohamed Benchicou ;

- Ms. Ghania HAMADOU, Ex-editor-in-chief and co-founder of Le Matin – to be confirmed

- A representative of the IFJ

Moderator : M. Aziouz MOKTARI, Correspondent for Soir d’Algérie in Brussels

IMPORTANT : If you do not have an access badge to the European Parliament, please send your full name and date of birth at the following address before 2 May : marc.gruber@ifj.org