Algerian journalists remanded over interviews criticising minister

Two Algerian journalists have been remanded in custody after broadcasting interviews criticising a minister, the National Committee for the Release of Detainees (CNLD) said Friday.

“The director of Algeria Scoop, Omar Ferhat, and his editor-in-chief, Sofiane Ghirous, were remanded on Thursday,” the CNLD said in a statement on Facebook.

The website had published interviews with entrepreneurs criticising Algerian Minister of Professional Training Yacine Merabi, before later deleting them.

The interviewees had accused the minister of “marginalising” them at an official event in the capital Algiers on Wednesday.

The two journalists were charged with “inciting and spreading hate speech”, the CNLD said.

A third journalist working at the same outlet was placed under judicial supervision, the rights group added.

Several journalists are currently imprisoned in Algeria, which ranks 139 out of 180 countries and territories in Reporters Without Borders’ (RSF) World Press Freedom Index.

“The independent media are under pressure, journalists are often jailed and prosecuted, and several websites are blocked,” RSF said in this year’s report.

“Simply mentioning corruption or the crushing of demonstrations can invite threats and police interrogation.”

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