Algeria: European Parliament Slams Press Freedom Violations and Calls for release of Ihsane El-Kadi
The European Parliament has decried the Algerian authorities’ crackdown on media freedom, calling for the immediate and unconditional release of all those arbitrarily detained for exercising their right to freedom of expression, including journalist Ihsane El-Kadi.
In a resolution passed with overwhelming majority, EP urged the Algerian regime to respect press freedom and amend the country’s Penal Code used to criminalise the right to freedom of expression, citing in this regard the case of Kadi who was sentenced to five years in prison with hefty fines on unfounded charges accusing him of having received funds for “political propaganda” and “harming the security of the state”.
Since the start of the Hirak popular protests in 2019, the situation of media freedom has taken a substantial turn for the worse in Algeria, with the authorities blocking more news sites and publications critical of the government, deplored the resolution.
The MEPs urged all EU institutions and member states to openly condemn the crackdown on media freedom in Algeria, while calling on the EU delegation and EU countries’ embassies on site to request access to imprisoned journalists and observe their trials.
The resolution was adopted by 536 votes in favour, 4 against and 18 abstentions. It condemned the shutting down of news websites and publications, and called for the reopening of closed media outlets and an end to the arrests and detention of journalists.
Algeria has fallen two places in Reporter Sans Frontieres’ latest World Press Freedom Index and is now ranked 136th out of 180 countries