The Algerian parliament on Thursday approved a new media law that tightens control over the work of journalists and imposes new restrictions.
While the government said the law is to ensure the free exercise of media activity under legal controls, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said the law included “negative chapters” that constitute a violation of press freedom.
The law prohibits the Algerian media from receiving funding or material assistance from any “foreign entity”.
Communication minister Mohamed Bouslimani said the law aims to “enshrine freedom and pluralism of the press” and “protect it from all forms of deviation”.
The new law de facto excludes dual nationals from the right to own or contribute to the ownership of a media outlet in Algeria.
“Some chapters are positive, others represent a violation of press freedom, such as revealing sources to the judiciary, if requested, restricting access to funding,” Khaled Drareni, the representative of RSF in North Africa, said.
Unlike the old law that required a formal authorisation from the ministry of communication to create a newspaper, the new one is much easier in that it says journalists can set up a media outlet by only making a statement.
Earlier this month, a court in Algeria sentenced Ihsane El Kadi, a prominent journalist, to five years in prison. Ihsane, a vocal critic of the government who was arrested on December 24, has been accused of receiving foreign funding.