IFJ Condemns Detention of Algerian Journalist over Libel Charge

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today expressed astonishment at the overnight detention of Algerian journalist Noureddine Boukraa in connection with libel charges brought against him over a story he wrote about alleged corruption for another newspaper – two years ago.

“These charges are a sham and are designed to silence his critical reporting,” said IFJ General Secretary Aidan White. “The use of the criminal code by the authorities to prosecute journalists creates a hostile atmosphere for independent journalism. We call on the government to decriminalise press offences and stop sending reporters to jail.”

Boukraa, the bureau chief in Annaba for daily Arabic-language newspaper Ennahar, was detained on 12 November on a complaint from an industrialist, Ahmed Zaim, who had been accused of bribing judges in a 2005 article in the daily newspaper Echourouk. He did not learn who had brought the charges until a day after his detention when he was brought before an investigating judge. He has been released and is now awaiting trial.

The IFJ and its Algerian affiliate, the Syndicat National des Journalistes (SNJ) have been urging authorities to decriminalise press offences, ensure fair trials for media and a withdrawal of prison sentences against journalists.

For more information contact the IFJ at +32 2 235 2207

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries worldwide