RSF urges European Union to exert pressure with signing of EU – Algeria agreement

first_img AlgeriaMiddle East – North Africa Organisation to go further May 12, 2021 Find out more News News Help by sharing this information May 18, 2021 Find out more As the European Union prepares to sign an association accord with Algeria, RSF calls on Brussels to urge Algeria to respect press freedom, which has sharply declined over the past year. Follow the news on Algeria Algeria : Reporter jailed after covering Tuareg protests in southern Algeria Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières – RSF) called today on the European Union to emphasise a human rights clause contained in an agreement formally associating Algeria with the European Union and due to be signed shortly.”This clause is a vital part of the agreement and its presence has up to now been ignored in similar accords with Tunisia and Israel, both countries recently criticised for human rights violations,” RSF said in a letter to Spanish foreign minister Josep Pique, who will sign the Algeria agreement for the EU on 22 April. RSF asked him to use the clause “to pressure the Algerian authorities … to pledge that freedom of the press will be respected.” This would mean ending all forms of harassment of journalists, conducting and publishing the results of investigations into police brutality against journalists or their disappearance, further amending the criminal code concerning the media and ending the arbitrary handling of applications to launch new publications.RSF described the media situation in the country, recalling that the Algerian parliament had amended the penal code in May 2001 to increase punishments and fines for defamation in the media, which was followed by numerous lawsuits against journalists working in the privately-owned media.In the first four months of this year, many journalists were questioned by police after complaints from the defence ministry about alleged defamation. Among them was a cartoonist, Ali Dilem, who was questioned on 25 January this year about a cartoon making fun of the army that appeared in the French-language paper Liberté last November. The ministry considered it “defamatory and an affront to the dignity of senior military figures.”During demonstrations last year, journalists were often threatened, physically attacked or had their equipment seized. Lotfi Bouchouchi, a correspondent in Algeria for the French TV station TF1, was seriously injured in Tizi-Ouzou on 13 March this year by a tear-gas grenade fired by police while he asking people in the street what they thought about a speech President Abdelaziz Bouteflika had just made. He was hit by the grenade even though he was not in the crowd of demonstrators and was clearly identifiable as press.The Arab-language weekly El-Mouaad el-Djazairi’s 26 November 2001 issue was withdrawn from newsstands and has not appeared since then. Several media owners have been unable to get permission to launch new publications, but the granting of some permits suggests the government is picking and choosing which to allow. Four years ago, almost to the day, Aziz Bouabdallah (see picture), a journalist on the Arab-language daily El-Alam es-Siyassi, disappeared in Algiers. This followed the disappearance of four other journalists – Mohammed Hassaine, Kaddour Bousselham, Djamil Fahassi and Salah Kitouni. After an on-the-spot enquiry in January 2001, RSF concluded that the state security services were responsible for the disappearance of three of them, including Bouabdallah. Since the first of the five disappeared, in 1995, the authorities have made no serious investigation of the cases. RSF_en Harassment of Algerian reporters intensifies in run-up to parliamentary elections News News Algeria pressures reporters by delaying renewal of accreditation Receive email alerts AlgeriaMiddle East – North Africa April 19, 2002 – Updated on January 20, 2016 RSF urges European Union to exert pressure with signing of EU – Algeria agreement April 29, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

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