Algerian police arrest journalists protesting censorship

Algerian journalists protest against alleged censorship of coverage of demonstrations against a fifth term for veteran President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in Algiers . AFP/RYAD KRAMDI

Algerian journalists protest against alleged censorship of coverage of demonstrations against a fifth term for veteran President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in Algiers . AFP/RYAD KRAMDI

Reporters Without Borders accuse the authorities of seeking to ‘muzzle’ the media.

Dozens of Algerian journalists protesting censorship on the coverage of the fifth term of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika have been arrested by police.

Approximately 100 print and broadcast journalists who attended the demonstration in the capital Algiers on Thursday said they had been forced to work under restrictions which were imposed on the media since last Friday’s protests, the East African reported.

“Free our colleagues,” the remaining demonstrators shouted as those arrested were driven off in the back of police vans.

“Fourth estate, not a press that follows orders.”

A wave of protests has hit Algeria ever since Bouteflika announced that he would be seeking a fifth term in the forthcoming April 18 elections despite being confined to a wheelchair and making few public appearances since suffering a stroke in 2013.

Last Friday’s protests saw tens of thousands take to the streets in protest. Since then, the protests have been a daily occurrence both in the provinces and in the capital even though they are illegal.

However, private channels owned by media magnates close to the government and the state broadcaster have all kept quiet about the demonstrations. State radio journalists said they had been ordered by management not to cover them.

In response, Reporters Without Borders accused the Algerian authorities on Tuesday of seeking to “muzzle” the media.

– African News Agency

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