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Algeria Bans French TV Channel for ‘Distorted” Documentary on Hirak

Algeria Bans French TV Channel for ‘Distorted” Documentary on Hirak

Wednesday, 23 September, 2020 - 07:45
Protests by students and intellectuals against the Algerian government (RYAD KRAMDI/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

Algerian Ministry of Communications announced on Monday it will “no longer authorize” the private French television channel M6 to operate in the country “under any form whatsoever.”

The decision comes after it broadcast a “distorted” documentary on the anti-government protest movement, the Hirak.

It also announced in a statement that the crew used “fake authorization” to complete their film.

A French-Algerian journalist worked on the report with the help of an Algerian photographer holding a “forged license,” the statement explained.

This constitutes a severely punishable offense by law, it added, noting that these journalists will be prosecuted, in accordance with the provisions of Article 216 of the Algerian Penal Code, on charges of “forgery in official or public documents.”

M6 TV channel broadcast on Sunday evening a 75-minute report as part of its Enquête exclusive (exclusive investigation) program.

It featured interviews - some using hidden cameras - with young Algerians talking about the future of their country since the Hirak popular uprising ousted long-time president Abdelaziz Bouteflika in April 2019.

One of the interviewees, a renowned Algerian blogger, expressed regret on Monday at having taken part in the documentary, dubbed “L’Algérie, le pays de toutes les révoltes” (Algeria, country of revolt).

She further criticized the channel's “lack of professionalism.”

According to the ministry, “with the approach of any significant electoral event for Algeria and its future, French media outlets hasten to broadcast reports, documentaries, and press products.”

“They have a despicable target, which aims at discouraging Algerians, especially the youth,” it stressed.

“It is not a coincidence that these media outlets act in consultation at various levels, knowing that they are ready to implement an agenda aimed at distorting Algeria's image and destabilizing the confidence, which links Algerian people with their institutions.”

On March 6, the editorial staff of M6 requested press accreditation to film a documentary on “the enhancement of economic and tourist development in the city of Oran, as well as multiculturalism which contributes to our country’s wealth,” it noted, affirming that the ministries of communication and foreign affairs rejected its request.

In May, a documentary on the Hirak movement, broadcast on France 5 public television, led to a diplomatic crisis between Algiers and Paris.

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