The Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria does not have anything to do with popular and democratic except the name. In fact, Reporters without Borders (www.rsf.org), in its last annual world classification concerning press freedom, made Algeria lose 20 points, since it was classified in the 141 position, entering, this way, in the club of countries where press freedom is seriously threatened. Does it mean that we are witnessing an authoritarian drift worsened by the third re-election of the President Abdelaziz Bouteflika? We have the right to ask the question in a legitimate way as last April, the general secretary of the NGO, Jean-François Julliard, has sent an open letter to the Chief of the Algerian State, denouncing the present situation and castigating the monopoly exercised by the State. Despite of the end of its monopoly on the press in 1989, the Algerian Government keeps a hand on the printing and distribution.
Certainly, El Khabar and El Watan have been able to create an independent company which manages two printing houses as well as an independent system of distribution (“Algérie Diffusion & Impression de presse”), but only these two dailies benefit from it. “The other newspapers depend totally on the State printing houses”. Adding to that, the imprisonment of many journalists as well as daily intimidations undergone by Algerian journalists.
The RSF estimated in fact, in May 2009, that « an avalanche of legal proceedings against the press”, reminding that Nedjar El Hadj Daoud, Director the newspaper “Al Waha de Ghardaäi”, has been sentenced to six months imprisonment. How to explain this absolute contortion of the Algerian State against a press which has in the past played an important role in denouncing the abuses of the regime? Are these same abuses increasing in favour of the authority clan while the Algerian press is henceforth obliged to practice self-censorship, journalists are afraid to be called by the police in early morning following a very “daring” feature.