Located in North Africa on the Mediterranean coast, The People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria is the gateway between Africa and Europe. With a population of about 39,542,166 (July 2015 est.) World Factbook, Algeria has been battered by violence over the past half century. It gained independence from France in 1962; a process which cost millions of Algerians their lives and left a mark of continuous/brutal internal conflict following the annulment of elections result in 1992 which has recently been resolved. An amnesty in 1999 compelled rebels to lay down their arms/weapons.
Although political unrest has declined, Algeria suffers a couple of campaign bombings from time to time by a group calling itself Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AIQM).
Despite these political upheaval and violence in the 1990s, Algeria is known for its oil and gas reserves/finds globally which are the backbone of its economy.
However, poverty and unemployment among the youth remain widespread. Endemic government corruption and the mismanagement of public funds have been identified as the chronic source of popular dissatisfaction. Algeria is a key oil and gas supplier. According to OPEC, Algeria is the 17th largest oil reserves in the world and the second largest in Africa.
President: Abdelaziz Bouteflika
Official Language: Arabic
Population: 39.21 million (2013)
National Anthem: Kassaman
Media & Freedom of expression Landscape
Despite the lifting of the state of emergency in 2011 and the adoption of new laws on association, media and political parties, Algeria has made little progress in defending and promoting the fundamental human rights of Algerians. Authorities continue to crack down on media houses, human rights advocacy groups and opposition parties. This has led to the restriction, arbitrary arrest and persecution of journalists, union leaders and activists.
Security forces and armed groups continue to enjoy impunity for the atrocities they committed during the civil war in the 1990s.
The media (television and radio stations) is controlled by the government; critical issues such as security, foreign and economic policy, the state broadcast the official line and allow no dissident commentary or critical reporting.
The January 2011 Law on Information, eliminated prison sentences but raised fines for journalists who commit speech offenses. The law has also broadened restrictions on journalists by requiring them to respect vaguely worded concepts, such as national unity and identity, public order, and national economic interests.
On May 19, the public prosecutor in Algiers charged Hisham Abboud, director and owner of the private newspaper Jaridati and its French edition Mon Journal, with sedition charges of compromising state security by publishing a story about President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s health. The Telecommunications Ministry had banned the two newspapers from publishing a front page report on the deteriorating health of the president, based on French medical sources and sources close to Bouteflika. (Human Rights Watch World-report)
Despites the progress being made by far in this regard, journalists, press houses and media professionals continue to experience occasional attacks from the government and security officials in carrying out their work thereby limiting the enjoyment of this right as stated in the Article 19 of Universal Declaration of Human rights. This continuous restriction has led to journalists risking their lives in reporting critical national issues or practicing self-censorship in order to be safe.
Visit: Freedom House to read further.