Algerian Journalists Arrested for Broadcasting Businesswomen’s Protest

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rian authorities arrest journalists Sofiane Ghirous and Ferhat Omar for publishing a video of businesswomen protesting government treatment, amid increasing repression under President Tebboune.

Bollywood Fever: Algerian authorities have arrested two journalists, Sofiane Ghirous and Ferhat Omar, for publishing a video showing businesswomen protesting their treatment at a government-sponsored event. The arrests are part of a broader trend of mounting repression against journalists since President Abdelmadjid Tebboune took office four years ago.

The detained journalists work for the news website “Algerie Scoop.” According to a statement from the National Committee for the Liberation of Detainees, a local watchdog group, Ghirous and Omar were detained last week for broadcasting material that authorities claimed “constituted incitement and hate speech.”

In the video, female start-up founders accused the government of “humiliating” and treating them with “contempt” at an innovation event organized by the Ministry of Education and Professional Training. Ghirous, the editor-in-chief of Algerie Scoop, and Omar, the website’s director, have both been targeted in this latest crackdown.

Press freedom in Algeria has deteriorated significantly, as evidenced by Reporters Without Borders ranking the country 139th out of 180 on its 2024 freedom of expression index. The organization cited “pressure on independent media and threats to arrest journalists.”

In June, the popular news website Radio M ceased publication due to “impossible conditions” while its editor, Ihsane El Kadi, serves a five-year prison sentence on charges of accepting foreign funds for critical coverage of the government.

Over the weekend, authorities also raided the Librairie Gouraya bookstore in Bejaia, preventing the sale of “Shared Kabylia,” a book by French author Dominique Martre. Martre and several others, including journalists and activists, were briefly arrested during the raid. The book recounts Martre’s experiences teaching French in Kabylia in the 1970s.

Attorney Mokrane Ait Labri, whose journalist brother was among those arrested, confirmed that all individuals detained during the bookstore raid were released later that evening.

This crackdown on freedom of expression comes as Algeria prepares for an election in September, with President Tebboune expected to seek a second term.

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