ALGERIA - RSF deplores Algerian ruling party’s “warning” to French media
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is concered about the “warning” that Hocine Kheldoune, the media director of Algeria’s ruling National Liberation Front (FLN), issued to the French media in a statement published yesterday in the newspaper El Watan.
“President Abdelaziz Bouteflika is well and his health of is of no concern to the French press,” Kheldoune began. Referring to the French press, he added: “We take this occasion to give them another warning and we ask them not to play with fire, especially as relations between the two countries are agitated.”
The statement, which RSF confirmed by telephone, followed the broadcasting of video footage in the French media showing President Bouteflika having difficulty expressing himself during a meeting with French Prime Minister Manuel Valls in Algiers on 8 April.
“The leaders at the top of the Algerian government and ruling party seem to be very confused or, worse still, seem to be riding a wave of hostility towards the French media,” said Yasmine Kacha, the head of RSF’s North Africa desk.
“Are Algeria’s leaders capable of understanding that French journalists are not soldiers who take orders from the French government? It is absurd to summon the French ambassador after revelations in the French media, just as it is absurd to think that these media are being manipulated with the aim of harming Algeria.”
The Algerian authorities have been displaying increasing hostility towards the French media ever since a report in Le Monde linking Algeria politicians to the Panama Papers scandal.
Algeria is ranked 121st out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2015 World Press Freedom Index.