France24 correspondent in Algeria detained on ‘serious charges’

Correspondent in Algeria of French news channel France24 was arrested Tuesday on what his lawyer branded “serious charges”.

Abdelghani Badi told TSA the prosecutor of the Bir Mourad Raïs court in capital Algiers ordered his client, Moncef Aït Kaci, to be locked.
Badi did not elaborate on the charges but said they are “serious”.

However, Algerie 360, citing anonymous sources, noted that the journalist is accused of “collaboration without license with a foreign television channel” and “external financing”.

His colleague, Ramdane Rahmouni, a producer, has been also rounded.
Algeria has made it mandatory for Algerian journalists to be licensed before reporting for any foreign media. The North African country has not issued any local press card for French media, including AFP news agency.

Authorities have also banned foreign financing for domestic media.

Few hours before his arrest, Kaci in a letter published on Casbah Tribune, an online media, said France24 terminated their collaboration with him on July 1st because he was no longer working on the ground.

The Tuesday arrests raised eyebrows in media industry. Reporters without Borders (RSF), a global nongovernmental organization protecting freedom of press, condemned the move by Algerian authorities.

“RSF is deeply concerned about the increased crackdown on freedom of press in Algeria: the authorities are sinking into an infernal spiral of repression, where new arbitrary measures are used to cover up previous ones,” France-based NGO said in a tweet.

Kaci is the second correspondent of a French media to be arrested in Algeria. Khaled Drareni, local correspondent of TV5 has been in prison since March. He is to stand trial on July 30.

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