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Algeria law ‘controlling media’ close to passing

A new media bill in Algeria has raised alarms among rights groups, as it would place curbs on media ownership rules and force journalists to give up their sources. The lower house of Parliament overwhelmingly approved the proposed law, while a vote in the upper house is expected on Thursday. It also bans any media outlet in Algeria from receiving direct or indirect “material aid” from foreign sources, and any violation of the law could lead to a fine of one to two million dinars ($7,400-$14,739). Reporters Without Borders (RSF) North Africa representative Khaled Drareni said the effect of the laws will “not be positive” on journalism in the country. The bill also bars dual nationals from investing in all or part of a media organisation, and any journalist working in the country for a foreign publication or outlet without proper accreditation will be fined between 500,000 to one million dinars ($3,700-$7,400).

Journalists are also warned not to indulge in “apologism for racism, terrorism, intolerance and violence”, or participate in anything that brings into disrepute the symbols of the war of national liber Drareni from RSF believes that the proposed bill in Algeria violates the Constitution on the right to expression and protection of journalists. He claims that the proposed bill gives legal character to a political will to impose a kind of total media silence, which contravenes the provisions of the Constitution on the right to expression and protection of journalists. He also claims that there is a link between the proposed bill and the popular anti-government Hirak movement protests, which were launched in 2019 after former longtime President Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced a bid for a fifth term in office.

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