Algerian press looks away from army-inflicted crises

Algerian press looks away from army-inflicted crises

Algeria’s once vibrant and critical media is now reduced to puppets whose strings are pulled by the military regime, relaying propaganda and fake news unchecked to divert the attention of Algerians.

The demise of Algerian media started with co-option under Bouteflika’s long rule to repression under the couple Chengriha-Tebboune.

Unemployment, the shortage of basic commodities, the democracy deficit, inflation, lack of diversified economy, dropping volumes of gas and oil exports in addition to impending economic and financial crises are all issues that the Algerian media prefers to look away from.

A look at the headlines of Algeria’s mainstream print, digital and audiovisual media shows that most attention is geared to outside the country, as journalists seem to be content with parroting what the regime says.

These days, the media indulges in conspiracy theories targeting Morocco and the UAE, without offering whatsoever evidence for their claims.

Echorouk, Ennahaar, El Watan, Le Soir d’Algerie, to mention but a few are all publications that have been shunning reports on pressing issues of the Algerian people, playing on the chord of the regime to distract the people away, using conspiracy theories and fake news.

Algerian media has failed to do its fact-checking job in many cases, falling prey to regime manipulation and intimidation.

During the multiple interviews with President Tebboune, the hand-picked sycophant journalists avoided questions about the dire economic prospects, unemployment, lack of basic commodities, oppression and the crackdown on press freedom using a law that incriminates journalists.

History shall remember that no Algerian media has shown solidarity with Kadi Ihsan the editor in chief of Algeria’s independent Radio M who was thrown in jail for criticizing the government, while others in exile like Abdou Semmar were sentenced to death in absentia and other lesser known journalists still suffering arbitrary detention, intimidation, and wiretapping.

Now Algerian media is more than ever mired in flattery, seeking more rent from a regime that made distributing oil and gas revenues the basis of a failing social contract to buy the silence of a hypocritical class of journalists.

In recent months, a simple report by a journalist on chemical substances in Algeria’s dates was enough to send him to jail.

In one of the most censored countries on earth, Algerian reporters keen to do real journalism are either intimidated to keep quiet, sent to jail or forced to leave the country.

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