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Algeria accuses French media of tarnishing its image

September 23, 2020 at 3:54 pm

A man reads a local newspaper in Marseille, France on 22 September 2020 [NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP/Getty Images]

Algeria has accused the French media of attempting to tarnish the country’s image and weaken the people’s trust in state institutions every time an election approaches in the North African state. The accusation was made by the Ministry of Communications in response to a documentary, Algeria: Country of Revolutions, which aired last Sunday on French TV channel M6.

The documentary depicted the 2019 popular movement in Algeria, with testimonies from two young men and a young woman about the country’s social, economic and political conditions. The three also talked about their aspirations, with one dreaming of the day when women’s rights are guaranteed unconditionally, while another looked forward to the rise of an Islamic state in Algeria.

According to the ministry statement, the documentary included a “misleading depiction” of the popular movement that overthrew former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in 2019. It added that the production team filmed the documentary in Algeria using fake authorisation documents.

“Whenever a crucial electoral date for Algeria’s future approaches, French media outlets broadcast and publish programmes and reports to demotivate the Algerian people,” explained the ministry. “It is not by chance that these media outlets adopt the same editorial line at the same time, bearing in mind that they are ready to implement an agenda aimed at tarnishing Algeria’s image and undermining the steadfast confidence that binds the Algerian people to their institutions.

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This is the second time in a year that Algeria has protested about the French media’s alleged defamatory orientation. At the end of May, France 5 aired a documentary about the popular movement in Algeria. The programme, Algeria, My Love, was considered by the Algerian authorities to be offensive about the movement and state institutions.

French–Algerian relations have always maintained a certain degree of tension due to France’s colonial occupation of Algeria from 1830 to 1962. The Algerian authorities have demanded on several occasions that France should apologise officially for its colonial crimes, and have required the resolution of stalled issues related to this issue as a condition for assuming amicable relations. The government in Paris, meanwhile, has called repeatedly for a new chapter to be opened for a better future.