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2 Algerian Journalists Arrested Over Businesswomen Protest Video

Algerian authorities have detained two journalists from the news website “Algerie Scoop” for sharing a video depicting businesswomen protesting their treatment at a government-sponsored event in Algiers. Sofiane Ghirous, the editor-in-chief, and Ferhat Omar, the website's director, were arrested last week on charges of allegedly disseminating material deemed to incite hatred, according to a statement by the National Committee for the Liberation of Detainees.

In the video, women entrepreneurs accused the Algerian government of humiliating and showing contempt towards them during an innovation event organized by the Ministry of Education and Professional Training.

The arrest of Ghirous and Omar underscores a broader crackdown on press freedom in Algeria since President Abdelmadjid Tebboune took office four years ago. Human rights experts have criticized the regime for targeting journalists with severe penalties on dubious grounds, leading to the closure of several media outlets due to exorbitant legal costs.

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Reporters Without Borders recently ranked Algeria 139th out of 180 countries on its press freedom index for 2024, citing increasing pressure on independent media and threats of journalist arrests.

Earlier this year, Radio M, a popular news website, ceased operations, citing untenable conditions, while its editor, Ihsane El Kadi, serves a five-year prison sentence on charges related to allegedly accepting foreign funds for critical coverage of the government.

In another incident over the weekend, authorities raided Librairie Gouraya bookstore in Bejaia, arresting several individuals, including journalists and activists, during a book signing event for “Shared Kabylia” by French author Dominique Martre. The book recounts Martre's experiences teaching French in Kabylia in the 1970s.

The detainees were released later in the evening, according to attorney Mokrane Ait Labri, who represented one of the journalists arrested.

These actions come amidst Algeria's preparations for an upcoming presidential election in September, where Tebboune is expected to seek re-election for a second term, amid growing concerns over civil liberties and freedom of expression in the country.

July 1, 2024 4:02 p.m. 358

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