Algerian journalists requested the release of all of their colleagues held in pretrial detention, as well as the cessation of judicial prosecutions based on their political beliefs, according to Asharq Al Awsat.
On World Press Freedom Day, journalists marched through the capital, condemning government and security crackdowns.
To keep demonstrators from entering the main street, security forces cordoned off the square where they were demonstrating.
The demonstrators requested the release of Rabah Kareche, a Liberete reporter who was arrested on April 19 and put in pretrial detention. He was accused of “spreading hate” and “discrimination” by the authorities.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) observer Khaled Drareni joined the demonstrators. After eleven months in jail on charges of “harming national unity,” he was released in February. However, he is now facing a retrial in the Supreme Court.
Hassane Ouali of Liberte said in a statement that Kareche’s incarceration is unjustified, claiming that he has been practicing his career as a journalist for years.
Several news websites, including Maghreb Emergent and Tout Sur l’Algérie, have been blocked by the government in the last two years due to articles critical of the president and security services.
As demonstrated by the crackdown on journalists and bloggers, Algerian journalist Nejib Belhimer accused the authorities of attempting to regulate the media by developing new legislation aimed at them.
Meanwhile, Ammar Belhimer, the Algerian Minister of Information and government spokesperson, told a local newspaper that he wants to keep the national press open.
He emphasised that some media outlets are corrupt, calling for rigorous investigations and pointing out that large sums of money from government ads dating back to the Bouteflika period have been smuggled out of the country.