Did Macron censure media appearance of Kabyle independence leader?
An appearance by the Kabyle independence leader Ferhat Mhenni at CNEWS, a French media close to Elysee, was canceled in the last minute on orders of French President Macron.
Ivan Roufiol, the journalist who was supposed to interview Mhenni, was filmed saying he knew about the cancellation in the last minute and a manager of CNEWS refused to explain why the interview was abandoned.
“Is it the Elysee…Algeria should have intervened,” Mhenni told the anchor Ivan Roufiol who said he thinks “there must have been pressure from Algeria.”
Mhenni is the leader of the MAK movement which leads a peaceful struggle for the independence of the restive Kabylie region.
Algeria has declared the movement a terrorist group and asked France to extradite Mhenni and other Kabyle independence activists.
Most MAK leaders live in France where they set up a government in exile. Their protests regularly bring together thousands of Kabyle expatriates yearning for independence.
The censorship of Mhenni’s interview indicates that Paris is willing to please the aging authoritarian regime in Algiers at the expense of France’s values and to the detriment of freedom of speech.
Algeria has asked France to arrest and extradite other dissidents, a request which Paris has rejected so far. But, this censorship of Mhenni rings the alarm bell among Kabyle independence activists and Algerian opposition figures in France as to the extent to which Macron is willing to go in order to please the authoritarian regime in Algiers.