Algeria cancels France 24 operating license: State media | News in the Middle East

The government said the outlet had shown “clear and repeated hostility” towards Algeria and its institutions.

Algeria has canceled the accreditation of France 24, the communications minister said on Sunday, a day after parliamentary elections in the former French colony.

The move is due to the “clear and repeated hostility of the satellite channel towards our country and its institutions,” government minister and spokesman Ammar Belhimer said in quotes brought by the state-run APS news agency.

Belhimer also accused France 24 of failing to respect journalistic rules and ethics, saying it “practices misinformation and manipulation in addition to the confirmed hostility against Algeria.”

The outlet said authorities had given the channel a final warning on March 13 over its “Friday march coverage” of the long-running anti-government protest movement Hirak.

In a statement Sunday, the public broadcasting service said it was “surprised to have received no explanation” for the move, stressing that “we cover the Algerian news in a transparent, independent and honest manner.”

The French government, which has strained ties with Algiers, did not immediately comment.

Both foreign and local journalists in Algeria are often faced with bureaucratic and unclear procedures to obtain permission to work.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) ranked Algeria 146 out of 180 countries and territories in its 2020 World Press Freedom Index, a 27-point drop since 2015.

The resumption of France 24’s accreditation came a day after the North African country held legislative elections, with nearly 70 per cent of voters abstaining according to official figures.

It also comes amid growing official pressure against Hirak and a series of arrests of journalists and opposition figures.

Independent journalist Khaled Drareni and the director of a pro-reform radio station, Ihsane El-Kadi were among seven people arrested on Thursday.

Although former Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika left in 2019 in the face of anti-regime protests, protests have continued, calling for a revision of the system of government in place since independence from France in 1962.

Authorities say the main demands of the movement have been met, and accuse the remaining protesters of working against the interests of Algeria.

The Hirak movement returned to the streets of February after a hiatus of nearly a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, after surviving an arrest campaign, the presidential election and a constitutional referendum partly aimed at burying it. .

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