Algeria - Media Landscape
|Suffrage||Universal; 18 yrs of age|
|Currency||Algerian Dinar (DZD)|
|Area||2. 381. 740 sq km|
|Total imports (%EU)||€19.9 bn (2006) (64%)|
|Total exports (%EU)||€43.5 bn (2006) (56%)|
|GDP||€93 bn (2006)|
|GDP per capita||€2.770 (2006)|
|Unemployment||14% (2007 est.)|
|Internet users (per 1000 people)||75 (2007)|
|Languages||Arabic (official), French, Berber dialects|
Algeria’s press has since the end of the 1980s reflected a great deal of pluralism.
A 1989 ministerial decision guaranteed two years of salary to journalists in the public sector. Many new publications were enticed and entered the Algerian media landscape at that time. Many of these are available in both Arabic and French.
For its pluralism, however, Algeria has paid a very high price during the last decade. Armed extremist groups have warred authorities. The war, which started in 1991 was mainly between the government and various Islamist groups, e.g. Islamist Salvation Front (FIS), Islamic Armed Movement (MIA) and the Armed Islamic Group (GIA). The conflict was caused by the emergence of armed guerrilla groups opposed to the government and its supporters. Between 150.000-200.000 people died during these conflicts. More than 70 journalists were killed while others were forced into exile.
Over the last two years, the government has introduced restrictive laws. These are considered to be a serious setback. Newly imposed imprisonment sanctions are a deterrent threat against media freedom. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) asked the government to lift article 144 related to so-called defamation sanctions.
Many international media correspondents are based in Algiers. Most of the Algerian population lives in the northern part of the country. A great deal of publishing and other media activities are therefore conducted in this area.
Despite state controls on a number of media, there is a strong network of private press that opposes the government and also highlights social and economic problems.
The government exerts control over the press by making it mandatory for newspapers to make use of its printing facilities. The government owns five of the six existing printing establishments. In addition, the government and its institutions are the major advertisers in Algeria. This causes many would-be independent newspapers to self-censor so as to receive funding through advertising. Leaders of the political opposition, including Islamic parties, use the independent press as a forum to express their views.
Newspapers such as El-Khabar, Le Quotidien d’Oran and El-Watan, have their own publishers. State-controlled printers have, however, been reported to be responsible for delaying the publication of certain newspapers for political reasons. El khabar, El-Watan, and Le Quotidien d’Oran have had their own printing facilities for two years.
Algeria has about 50 daily or weekly publications. Most of them circulate 15.000 copies, roughly estimated. Only four newspapers are estimated to boast circulation greater than 50.000 copies: El-Khabar (530.000) in Arabic as well as Le Quotidien d’Oran (140.000-198.000), Liberté (120.000- 150.000) and El-Watan (70.000-90.000) in French.
Algeria has two news agencies. The state-run Algerian Press Service (APS) is located in Algiers and was founded in 1961. The agency is represented in 12 foreign capitals: Washington, Moscow, Paris, London, Brussels, Rome, Madrid, Cairo, Rabat, Tunis, Amman and Dakar.
The Algerian Information Agency (L’Agence Algerienne d’Information), is a private news agency based in Algiers. It has been in operation since January 1999, specialising in economic and social information.
Algerian television and radio stations are state-controlled, but there is a lively private press which often criticises the government. Furthermore, satellite television is especially popular. Stations based in France are particularly wont to target Algerian viewers. Many European channels are watched.
The state is the main player in radio and television broadcasting. The Algerian television channel ENTV and three main radio channels maintain regular news service and disseminate official political discourse. The television presents news in three languages: Arabic, French and English. The three national radio channels are Channel 1 (Arabic), Channel 2 (Berber) and Channel 3 (French and some English). Numerous regions of the country have their own radio stations.
One locally owned satellite TV station broadcasts from Algiers: Canal Algérie. The station targets, via satellite, Algerian citizens living in Europe. Satellite dishes are widespread. It is estimated that more than 60 percent of Algerian households have access to European and other Arab channels via satellite. This has contributed to a loss of national television viewers.
Radio from abroad is popular, with about 8 million regular listeners, according to government estimates.
As of 2006, the number of Internet users was recorded to be 3 million, around 10 percent of the population. The majority of users access the Internet via more than 5.000 Internet cafes.
Many newspapers have an online edition. Internet access is not restricted, but users and internet service providers can face prosecution if they are found to be in possession of material considered to be offensive or disruptive to public order.
Blogs are gaining popularity in Algeria. A few notable blogs:
- Dahmani’s Blog: Run by Algerian cartoonist Lounis Dahmani. Covers various topics ranging from politics to social issues, using cartoons
- DZ-Blogs Aggregator: This site gives an overview of the 50 latest articles from a cross-section of bloggers in Algeria
- Blog Netalgerie: This blog is a gateway to a variety of subjects pertaining to Algeria
The telecommunications market is dominated by the Algeria Telecom Company, a state-owned company that provides both satellite and terrestrial telecommunications services in Algeria. Orascom Telecom and Telecom Egypt, which owns the biggest share of the market, in 2005 acquired licenses to build a terrestrial phone network.
The Algerian mobile phone market is increasing rapidly. The number of subscribers stands at over 25 million, a 75 percent penetration rate. This rise can be been attributed to competition between mobile phone operators. Such a growing mobile market presents a valuable opportunity for mobile phone communicators.
Learning and support
Four universities are authorised to offer degree courses (Algiers, Oran, Constantine and Annaba).
Degree programmes in journalism are offered by universities. Most programmes take four years to complete. The institutes or departments offer degree courses only Arabic - while most newspapers are published in French. Practical training for students is rare and often neglected. Most of the publishers and editors complain about their weak entry-level employees.
- Institut des Sciences de l’Information et de la Communication (ISIC) – Algiers
This branch of the University of Algiers provides entry-level education in the field of journalism. Areas of specialisation include print writing and design, radio, television and public relations
- Departement de la Communication-Université Mentouri Constantine
This branch of the University of Constantine is joined to the Human and Social Sciences Faculty. Core syllabuses must be completed, usually over two years before specialisation.
- Departement des Sciences de la Communication-Université Badji Mokhtar, Annaba
This branch of the University of Annaba is joined to the Economics Sciences and Management Sciences Faculty.
- Departement Bibliothéconomie-Sciences de l’Information-Oran
This branch of the University of Oran-Es Senia operates together with the Human Sciences and Islamic Civilization Faculty.
Further education and training for practicing journalists is rare. Some public and private newspapers offer specific training via bilateral cooperation programs, e.g Foundation Friedrich Naumann, Centre Culturel Francais, REMFOC (Reseau Euro-Maghrebin de Formation dans les Metiers de la Communication), Centre de Formation et de perfectionnement des Journalistes-Paris and Freedom House.
The SNJ leads campaigns to protect journalists’ rights. It helps particularly with defamation cases. It also lobbies for a reforms to media laws. After several years of lobbying the syndicate celebrated the launch of the Statute of Journalists. Issued by the government in April 2008, it outlines proper working conditions for journalists.
- Cellular News
- BBC News
- aai-online (N/A) (Algerian Information Agency)
- Unesco - (Database of African Journalism Schools)
Departement Bibliothéconomie-Sciences de l’Information-Oran
Faculté des Sciences Humaines et de la Civilisation Islamique
B.P. 1524 Oran 31000
Tel: +213 41 61 55
Fax: +213 41 60 21
Department des Sciences de la Communication- Universite Badji Mokhtar, Annaba
Faculté des Sciences Economiques et Sciences de gestion
B.P. 12 Annaba 23000
Tel: +213 38 87 26 78
Fax: +213 38 87 24 36
Departement de la Communication- Universite Mentouri Constantine
Faculté des Sciences Humaines et Sociales
Route Ain El Bey
Tel: +213 31 92 85 64
Fax: +213 31 81 87 11
Institut des Sciences de l’Information et de la Communication (ISIC) – Algiers
Faculté des Sciences Politiques et de l’Information
11 rue Doudou Mokhtar
B.P. 62 Ben Aknoun (Alger)
Fax : + (213) 22.214.171.124