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"We have to transcend the difficulties of the past to give our efforts a solid base that resists time and the turbulence of history which does not forget our main objective to develop out relations"– Abdelaziz Bouteflika (Irish 2012)



INTRODUCTION



Algeria (the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria or the Democratic and Popular Repulblic of Algeria) is located in North Africa, being the 10th largest country in the world
and the largest country in Africa with a population of 37 million. It is part of the African Union, the Arab League, OPEC, the United Nations, and the Arab Maghreb
Union. Algeria is a semi presidential republic, with Head of State and President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, and a Head of Government, Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahi (CIA World Fact Book 2012).
Map of Algeria
Map of Algeria


Media in Algeria, similar to many other nations in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region MENA, is extremely regulated. The authoritarian government sees the media as a tool in their bid to control the Algerian populous, and as such is highly involved in what can be said, and what can be shown to the public.

Historically, Algeria has undergone a number of regime changes, all of which have brought about alterations to regulation policies. Until 1962, Algeria was a colony of France, and as such governed by French Law. In the space between achievieing independence, and Abdelaziz Bouteflika coming into power in 1999, the nation endured intense and drawn out fighting.

When he obtained power, Bouteflika transformed Algeria into an Authoritarian state and positioned himself as both head of state, as well as head of government, giving him sole executive control over the nation. It was under Bouteflika that the majority of strict media regulations were introduced. Breaches to these regulations include imprisonment and excessive fines of up to 5000 Euro.

More recently however, political and social reforms that have arisen from the Arab Spring (Arab Spring) have begun to relax controls on the media. The most significant of these was the removal of the state of emergency restriction, which had been in place for 19 years. This declaration had given the government a monopoly on broadcast media providing them complete control over any publication. Whilst a multitude of regulations do still exist, the threat of imprisonment has been abolished. Several restrictions on freedom of opinion and expression still exist, including the threat of the immense fine.


PRINT MEDIA



Newspapers in Algeria are primarily owned and controlled by the government, and because of this tight regulation in the contents produced through newspapers, many journalists have moved their controversial information onto the online world. Journalistic and press freedom have undergone a roller coaster ride in the past 50 years, achieving freedom then losing their right to individual expression in times of war but regained some of its previous liberty with the turn of the century.

Ownership


The history of Algeria print media can be put into five different time periods. Generally, from the 1960s to the 21st century, all printing presses were under the state control. After the early 2000s, the government eased the restrictions towards the print media.
  • From 1962 to 1965, Algeria was independent from France such that the press was controlled by ruling party, the National Front of Liberation. FLN newspapers editors were able to enjoy the press freedom to a certain extend.
  • From 1965 to 1988 the civil servants of the state replaced the FLN intellectuals. Even the freedom of press became unknown, all the printing presses were still under government control. There were three main state-run newspapers in this period of time: El-Moudjahid (The Freedom Fighter), the weekly Algerie Actulalite in French and Ech-Chaab (The People) in Arabic
  • The annual circulation of the Algerian printing presses is approximately 364 million. There are 25 newspaper publications in Algeria and the majority of them are printed in Arabic and French. The following table displays the most popular newspapers in contemporary Algeria.


Publication
El Khabar
Ech Chourouk
Ech Chaab
El Moudjahid
Le Quotidien d'Orant
El Watan
Le Soir d'Algérie
Liberte
La Tribune
Ownership
Private
Private
State
State
Private
Private
Private
Private
Private
Language
Arabic
Arabic
Arabic
French
French
French
French
French
French
Period
Daily
Daily
Daily
Daily
Daily
Daily
Daily
Daily
Daily and weekly


EL Khabar
EL Khabar
El Chourouk
El Chourouk

Ech Chaab
Ech Chaab

El Moudjahid
El Moudjahid

Le Quotidien d'Orant
Le Quotidien d'Orant

El Watan
El Watan
Le Soir d'Algérie
Le Soir d'Algérie

Liberte
Liberte

La Tribune
La Tribune











  • The Algerian government established a News Agency called the Algeria Press Service (APS) in 1961 during the national liberation war. It transformed into EPIC (Public Company with Economic and Commercial Aspect) in 1991 and participated in public services, producing national and international news, especially to report the facts, actions and achievements of Algeria.

Regulation


  • In 1962 to 1965 editors of newspapers were scholars belonging to the National Front of Liberation (FLN). In 1962 Algeria won independence from France and the FLN took power. In the 3 years following this up to 1965, editors of newspapers had to belong to the FLN. As such they had freedom to express their views in print but as they were all party members, they uniformly wrote in favour of the FLN (Romero 2010).
  • From 1965 to 1988 the Governments monopoly over print media was ended as the Information Code (Information Code) was enforced. As a result several new private newspapers appeared in 1964 that had liberty to freely express their opinion in print. Soon after the ban on this print media was lifted, Algeria's opposition political parties began to publish their own newspapers however they failed to continue due to pressure from the Algerian government. The Algerian governments rationale for this was that these newspapers were not reaching a large audience. A more likely reason could be to stop opposing views reaching the population.
  • At this time, the principal opposition parties could express themselves in non-party independent newspapers with editors that support freedom of expression within their publications.
  • From 1992 to 1999 a regime which was military backed came to power and again restrcted journalists freedom and expression. A number of newspapers were shut down, journalists were reported missing, some jailed or assasinated (Romero 2010).

From 1999 onwards, journalism in Algeria has regained some of the freedom lost in the early 90's. However the print media's effort to spread information to different socio-economic classes has not been very succcessful. The educated high classes of Algerian society who in effect control the media, fail to reach and include the middle class society in broadcast news. On the other side of the spectrum there is the rural class in Algeria where there are high rates of illiteracy and/or not enough money to buy newspapers.

As an example of how controlled the Algerian media is, J.Watan who is known as an outspoken voice against censorship and corruption has been targeted by both government forces and Islamist insurgents.

RADIO




Algeria has a great number of radio stations being broadcasted in French, Arabic, Berber, and English to suit the Algerian public. As with newspapers, the radio is also subject to government ownership and regulation. However, the effect of the Algerian government monopoly of the radio on the Algerian population is slightly limited by the global nature of radio frequencies and satellite channels such that the Algerian radio audience are able to experience European content to supplement their government programming.

Ownership


Starting from the enactment of the Information Code in 1990, all Algeria radio stations are stated owned and considered as public institutions. Among the United Arab Emirates countries, Algeria has the highest number of government owned radio station. There are three national radio channels and some other provincial radio stations including Chaine, Chaine 2, Chaine 3, Radio Catna, etc, most of them are broadcast in Arabic, Berber, French and English. The Algeria government would like to keep all information under censorship and take strict control over the news content. Despite the complete state control, it allows private company to build their own radio station and doesn't restrict the use of satellite dishes which provide radio signals from abroad , therefore, Algerians are now able to receive radio broadcasts from different European and Arabic stations. Even the number of private radio station is growing rapidly, the state-owned radio stations still outnumber the private ones.

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In late 2011, the Algeria government passed a bill to attract private radio operators. While easing the dictatorship on the radio sector, it reminds journalists not to sabotage national identity and security. "Although journalists no longer fear for their lives, their room for manoeuvre in terms of freedom of expression is limited," Reporters Without Borders said in 2010 (Reporter Without Borders 2010).

Regulation


Algeria has a large number of public (government operated) radio stations compared to most other Arab nations. Private radio stations have not flourished despite being specifically operationally allowed under the amended 1990 Information Code. Information provided by the government stations is not free from censorship. However more than 8 million Algerians tune into broadcasts from abroad. These include broadcasts from foreign Muslim scholars which have been credited with influencing some to reject terrorism and re-engage within mainstream society.

TELEVISION



Likes other broadcast media, Algerian television is also governed by the state's rules and regulations. Due to the lack of diversity in television channels, satellite channels are extremely popular to the Algerian public who are able to access broadcasts from Europe for information and entertainment without the government's shadow intruding on their consumption.

Ownership


The Enterprise Nationale de Television (ENTV), established in 1956, is the only national television station broadcasted to the Algerian population. Hamraoui Habib Chawki is the CEO of ENTV, and was also the Minister of Culture in Algeria. Being a government operated network, Algerians only experience the pro-government programming produced on their national television. Channels provided by the ENTV include the ENTV channel, the Canal Algerie in French, Thalitha TV in Arabic, and Tamazight TV in Berber. (Romero 2010).

ENTV (the channel) was the only national public television channel available to the Algerian public until 1994 when ENTV created Canal Algerie to introduce diversity to the Algerian audience. In 2009, ENTV launched another channel, Tamazight TV (also known as Algerie 4) to further increase the diversity of broadcast programs, although they remained government owned and regulated.




ENTV
ENTV
Canal Algerie
Canal Algerie
Tamazight TV
Tamazight TV
Khalifa TV
Khalifa TV
















In the beginning of the 21st century, the government monopoly of television ownership in Algeria was slightly reduced with the partnership between ENTV and the private foreign media company, Khalifa TV.

Whilst broadcast television is being dominated by government approved programming, there has been an increase in satellite television consumed by the Algerian public. As the "gateway between Africa and Europe", European satellite channels are popular in Algeria, especially those in French. This foreign ownership of television channels is readily consumed by the Algerian population as it offers a diversity of views and well as ideas that are ignored by the Algerian government (Howard 2008).

Privately owned television stations are illegal in Algeria.

Regulation


Due to the fact that the state holds a monopoly over the television market, the local news rarely reports on violence unless multiple individuals are involved. Furthermore, the government abolished the right to own private TV stations.

Nevertheless, satellite dishes were legalized and became obtainable to the audience in 1987. This opportunity gave an insight to the new content which represents opposition to the commonly held political beliefs of the heads of the state (Romero 2012).

Algerian television is regulated by the General Telecommunications Framework (Loi no,200-03). It covers information on the institutional structure that also involves establishment of the regulatory telecommunications authority. This set of laws contains details on licensing, interconnection, administration of the scarce resources, punishment and approbation (World Bank Group 2012).

Today algerians insist on changes in the sphere of television, however, the government has not taken any actions but making vague statements. Further details on these changes can be accessed at the following link: Algeria's Bouteflika to end state TV and radio control


DIGITAL MEDIA



The online media world in Algeria is separate from the other media publications being outside the ownership and regulation of the Algerian government. The global nature of the internet allows for access and contribution by people both in and out of Algeria so that the diversity of production and consumption is extreme. Most of the Algerian public turn to the internet to receive information unbarred by the tint of the government.

Ownership


The Center for Research on Scientific and Technical Information in Algeria was the first to use the internet as a source of information in 1993. The government had control on to distribution of internet services until 1998 when a change in legislation allowed private owners to distribute internet services to the Algerian public. However, this was conditional on the basis that the private owner must be Algerian. Even though the provision of internet service was privatised, the government's power in relation to the regulation of internet distribution and use continues to be present (Romero 2010).

Compared to it's neighbouring states, Algeria's internet production and consumption is relatively free of government influence. The blogosphere in Algeria is active with independent individuals publishing their thoughts and ideas. Popular political blogs include the Algerie politique in French and the Bilad Telmesan in Arabic. Through the use of the internet, Algerians are moving around the broadcast content censored by the Algerian government to introduce a diversity of voices into their information consumption in everyday life. This also has the additional advantage to expose the violence in Algeria, not only to the Algerian public, but also to foreign nations due to the global nature of the internet. The Algerian government has not yet restricted the use of the internet as its development in the country is embryonic and posing no current threat to the reign of the political party at the present time (Benremouga 2001).


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Estimated number of internet users in Algeria
Estimated number of internet users in Algeria














Regulation


At first, the Internet access gained by Algeria introduced restrictions to the users of the Internet cafes which included involvement of the police that collected personal data of the visitors. Moreover, cafe managers were under control of the Security Council which requested to inform of the users whose behavior looked suspicious. Later on a 1998 telecommunication decree was issued. It compels Internet service providers to be accountable for their web-sites and, thus, to make the content that might violate public order and morality inaccessible, failure to do so could result in criminal penalties. For instance, journalists regularly complain that they receive some of the e-mails with a two days delay which they assume to be espionage of the government.

In May 2008 a new cybercrime bill was imposed to address the issue of 4,000 hacking attempts per month of the government and financial bodies owned web-sites. The bill made such activities as hacking, stealing personal data, encouraging online terrorism and infringement of the law including copyright, and extortion illegal. Next, in May 2009 a new national cybercrime security service was established to regulate and observe activities of internet cafes in order to avert terrorism (Romero 2012).

ONIcould not prove the fact that the government filters the web-sites. Nevertheless, the Algerian security forces made the web site of the al-Qaeda Organization in the Islamic Maghreb inaccessible in October 2007 as it was revealed that the Internet site was used to enroll youngsters in the organisation and to publish the content which is associated with the terror attacks in Algeria (OpenNet initiative 2009). In addition, censorship related to such controversial themes as criticism of President Bouteflika and the military forces, gay relationships and non-Islamic veneration was not identified (Heacock 2011).

However, a new examination on January 1, 2010 confirmed that several web pages were blocked including the web-site of the Algerian political movement Rachad (www.rachad.org) and the movement's Internet TV channel (tv.rachad.org) as well as discussion forum (forum.rachad.org). The implicit filtering represented the error message rather than the total block of the system. The web-site became unavailable few weeks after the Algeria Minister of Post and Information and Communication Technologies Hamid Bessalah suggested that a central filtration regime which was proposed by the state might control circulation of information within and outside the country (Noman 2010).


LEGISLATION



The elastic wording of some law articles restrict press freedoms, such as the articles on maintaining public security and the requirements of the state security and national defence, as well as the requirements of foreign policy, economic interests of the country, functions of public service, the constitution and the laws of the republic, the cultural and spiritual values of the nation, the national identity and national unity, etc. Such articles will allow the authorities to punish a journalist or a newspaper when they cross the lines.
  • The Algerian Constitution was first accepted in 1976 and was last emended in 1996. There are several articles that are related to the media and freedom of expression:

Article 36. Freedom of religion and opinion
Article 38. Freedom of intellectual, artistic and scientific property; the right to copyright; confiscation of any publication, recording of any other information can only be done in case of pursuance of the order
Article 39. Privacy and Confidentiality of Communication

  • In 1990 The Information Code was adopted that resulted in breaking the state's monopoly over print media and for the first time legalized private ownership of newspapers since 1964.
  • In February 1992 the country was in emergency state which was associated with strict supervision of the government that permitted detaining of journalists and intermission of newspapers. Later in September a decree on terrorism and overthrow was issued which resulted in creation of the Algerian Penal Code in 1995.
  • In the late 1990s the Algerian government took some measures to lift restrictions in the field of media. For example, in order to achieve its goal the state adopted Organic Law on Information.
  • In 2001 the Information Code and the Penal Code were abolished to restrict the press, forbidding criticism of the head of the state as well as other government and public bodies, and to increase punishment under criminal law for publishers, editors and journalists. Such actions could lead to heavy penalties and up to 24 months of imprisonment. Moreover, those who might put at risk country's security by disseminating slander can be sentenced to 10 years of jail.
  • In May 2004, the Algerian government enacted a law that makes all public and private media owners to have their advertisements examined prior being published by the Publicity Agency (Romero 2012).
  • In 2012 a new libel law was paased that is believed to threaten freedom of expression and also does not solve major concerns of Algerian journalists.
  • Algerian Journalists' charter of personal and professional ethics


Development Trend



The Algeria government always aim to be the leader in journalism and considered on of the freest in the Arab world. In fact, it is continuing to restrict the freedom of speech and the printing press with the Article 144-bis to a certain extend.

Among all the new media, the Internet seems to bother the government because of its ability to disseminate unbiased news and start to gain some kinds of censorship by itself. In addition, with the growing use of social networking tools, for example, Facebook, blogging and Twitter among the youngest ones in the society, it imposes heavier pressure towards the government. Nevertheless, the fact of the growing use of Internet in Algeria is not considered as a threat to the traditional media because of the development of Internet is relatively in an early stage and with the high accessing costs, only a few Algerian have access to it. Therefore, it has given the traditional media, especially print papers the advantage of worldwide readership.

The government has emphasized the need to build a digital society which help to ease the stress brings by its lacking economy. The economic crisis has hurt the Algeria media, some of papers are forced to go bankrupt because of the increasing editing and printing costs and the lack of advertising.

The Algeria media landscape has been undergoing some transition recently and hope to establish an information society and modernize it. Here is an example of the project: The Algerian Start up Initiative. It helps university graduates and hi- tech entrepreneurs transfer ideas into innovative information and communications technology- based enterprises. (Romero 2010)


PRESS FREEDOM INDEX



"Many media paid dearly for their coverage of democratic aspirations or opposition movements. Control of news and information continued to tempt governments and to be a question of survival for totalitarian and repressive regimes. The past year also highlighted the leading role played by netizens in producing and disseminating news" said Reporters Without Boarders as it released its 10th annual press freedom index (2012).
We can see here that Algeria sits at number 122 out of 179 countries on the Press Freedom Index (Press Freedom Index).

It is also clear that a number of Algeria's neighbours have limited press freedom. This is testament to the leadership style in the region - many of the Middle Eastern and North African nations are under authoritarian rule. These leaders strictly limit what can be said in the press and other media as a means of controlling their populous and indoctrinating them to the parties values and beliefs. (Press Freedom Index 2012)

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Algeria at number 122 out of 179 countries on the Press Freedom Index 2011-2012
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ADDITIONAL READINGS


Internet News Media
Magazine News Media
Newspaper News Media
Press Agency News Media
Africa Intelligence
Economist
Ech Chourouk El Youmi
Algerie Presse Service
Algeria Times

El Khabar
APA
EIN News


Panapress
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Journal Readings:


Other Sources:


REFERENCES


About APS2010, Algeria Press Service, accessed 10 August 2012, <http://www.aps.dz/About-APS.html>

Algeria, Arab Press Network, accessed 8 August 2012, <http://www.arabpressnetwork.org/newspaysv2.php?id=84>

Algeria Profile 2012, BBC News, accessed 10 August 2012, <http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-14118855>

al-Idrisi, Muhammad (12th century). Nuzhat al-Mushtaq. Abderahman, Abderrahman (1377). History of Ibn Khaldun – Volume 6.
Etymologie du toponyme "Aldjazair". Scribd.com. Retrieved on 14 August 2012.

Arezki Daoud, "The Rise of North Africans in French Politics", The North African Journal, Wednesday August 15 2012

Benremouga, K n.d., Algeria, Press Reference, accessed 8 August 2012, <http://www.pressreference.com/A-Be/Algeria.html#b>

Heacock, R 2011, Internet Filtering in Algeria in 2006-2007,OpenNet initiative, accessed 8 August 2012, < http://opennet.net/studies/algeria2007>

Howard, P 2008, Ownership diversity in Muslim media systems, World Information Access, accessed 10 August 2012, <http://www.wiaproject.org/index.php/68/ownership-diversity-in-muslim-media-systems>

International Crisis Group (ICG) 1998, Algeria Report: Between Death Threats and Censorship, accessed 8 August 2012,http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/3ae6a6d020.html

Irish, J 2012, "France and Algeria inch Closer: 50 years on" accessed 2nd August 2012 <Algeria and France Inch Closer: 50 years on>

Narrimanem, B 2012, "The Algerian Regime: An Arab Spring Survivor", Journal of Internal Affairs
CIA World Factbook.

Noman, H 2010, Algeria joins the Internet censors club, OpenNet Initiative, accessed 8 August 2012, <http://opennet.net/blog/2010/01/algeria-joins-internet-censors-club>

OpenNet initiative 2009, Algeria, accessed 8 August 2012, < http://opennet.net/research/profiles/algeria >

Paleoanthropological Research at Ain Hanech, Algeria. Stoneageinstitute.org. Retrieved on 14 August 2012.

Reporters Without Borders 2012, Press Freedom Index 2011-2012, accessed 7 August, <http://en.rsf.org/press-freedom-index-2011-2012,1043.html>

Romero, C 2010, Media landscape: Algeria, European Journalism Centre, accessed 8 August 2012, <http://www.ejc.net/media_landscape/article/algeria/#14>

The Tassili n’Ajjer: birthplace of ancient Egypt?. Philipcoppens.com. Retrieved on 14 August 2012.


World Bank Group 2011, Telecommunications - Laws, Regulations and Licenses, accessed 10 August 2012, <http://ppp.worldbank.org/public-private-partnership/sector/telecom/laws-regulations#alge>






















ALLOCATION OF WRITING:

Charlotte Hartley-Wilson: Introduction, Regulation of Print Media and Radio, Press Freedom Index, Additional Readings

Elena Karpenko: Legislation, Regulation of Digital Media and Television

Katya NJ Wang: Ownership of Digital Media and Television

Jacqueline: Ownership of Print Media and Radio, Development trend