Algerian Govt Nabs Two Journalists For Publishing Video Showing Women Protesting

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Algerian authorities have arrested two journalists identified as Sofiane Ghirous and Ferhat Omar.

The two newsmen from the Algerie Scoop for publishing a video showing businesswomen protesting how they were treated at a government-sponsored event.

According to a statement from the National Committee for the Liberation of Detainees, a local watchdog group on Saturday, said Sofiane Ghirous and Ferhat Omar of the news website “Algerie Scoop” were detained last week for broadcasting material authorities claimed “constituted incitement and hate speech”.

In the video, women start-up founders accused the government of “humiliating” and treating them with “contempt” at an innovation event organized by the Ministry of Education and Professional Training.

Ghirous is the editor-in-chief of Algerie Scoop, accredited by the government in 2021, and Omar is the website’s director.

The press freedom group Reporters Without Borders has recently downranked Algeria on its freedom of expression index to 139th out of 180 in 2024 while decrying the country’s “pressure on independent media and threats to arrest journalists.”

In June, the popular news website Radio M announced it would cease publication due to “impossible conditions” while its editor, Ihsane El Kadi, serves a five-year prison sentence on charges alleging his media company accepted foreign funds for his coverage, which was often critical of the government.

Also over the weekend, authorities raided the Librairie Gouraya bookstore in the city of Bejaia, nearly 240 kilometres (149 miles) east of the capital, to prevent the sale of “Shared Kabylia” where a book signing was scheduled for its French author, Dominique Martre. They briefly arrested Martre, the Algerian publisher and several others, including journalists and activists.

In the book, Martre recounts her experiences teaching French in the mountainous region of Kabylia in the 1970s.

Those arrested were released later in the evening, attorney Mokra.