On July 28, 2020, Algerian authorities detained Moncef Aït Kaci, a former correspondent for French public broadcaster France 24, and Ramdane Rahmouni, a freelance producer and camera operator who contributes to the broadcaster, according to a report by France 24, news reports, and Mustapha Bendjama, a local journalist and press freedom advocate, who spoke to CPJ via messaging app.
The journalists were detained after responding to a summons issued by a judge at the Bir Mourad Raïs Court, outside of Algiers, which accused the journalists of receiving foreign funding aiming to harm national interest and collaborating with a foreign television channel without accreditation, according to Bendjama and those reports.
They were held in the Harrach prison in Algiers for one night before they were released without charge on July 29, according to news reports. Their release is classified as temporary, pending an investigation, according to those reports.
Journalists working for a foreign news outlet in Algeria are required to obtain press accreditations to cover the news, which the Ministry of Communication rarely grants, as CPJ has documented.
In a letter published on the local Casbah Tribune news website shortly before his detention, Kaci wrote that his press accreditation had expired in December 2019, and wrote that he had not worked as a reporter since then. He wrote that he still occasionally provided commentary to France 24 and other channels.
Before his accreditation expired, Kaci covered the anti-government protests that have been taking place across the country since February 2019, according to his author page on France 24.
On July 4, Rahmouni and Kaci produced France 24’s exclusive interview with newly elected president Abdelmadjid Tebboune, according to the broadcaster.
CPJ emailed the Algerian Ministry of Interior for comment, but did not receive any response.