New York, August 2, 2021 – Algerian authorities should immediately reverse their decision to revoke the accreditation of Saudi news channel Al-Arabiya and ensure that the channel can operate freely in the country, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
On July 31, Algeria’s communications ministry withdrew Al-Arabiya’s press accreditation for allegedly spreading misinformation while failing to respect journalistic ethics and practicing manipulation, according to news reports and the state-run news agency Algérie Press Service.
None of the reports specified what the channel allegedly published to earn the revocation and neither the communications ministry nor Al-Arabiya returned CPJ’s emailed requests for comment.
“The Algerian government has revoked the press accreditations of local and foreign journalists and news outlets as a means to crack down on press freedom in the country,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa program coordinator Sherif Mansour. “Authorities must immediately reverse their decision revoking Al-Arabiya’s press accreditation and allow local and foreign news outlets, as well as all journalists, to work freely in the country.”
Local press freedom advocate Mustapha Bendjama told CPJ via messaging app that Al-Arabiya is continuing to broadcast; he also said that foreign journalists working for a foreign outlet are no longer allowed to work in the country after the communications ministry revokes the outlet’s license; CPJ was unable to independently confirm this, or to determine whether Al-Arabiya’s foreign employees would have to leave Algeria.
On June 13, the ministry of communications revoked the press accreditation of French public broadcaster France 24, after accusing it of “bias” in its coverage of ongoing anti-government protests, as CPJ documented.