Minister of Communication and Government Spokesperson Ammar Belhimer confirmed today, Sunday, that the President of the Republic, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, has made of the freedom of the press a “constant principle” in the new constitution through “a set of guarantees that allow journalists to practice their duties professionally and ethically,” highlighting the “deep transformation ” the profession is witnessing in light of the process of building a new Algeria.”
In a message he addressed to the media family on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, coinciding with May 3 of each year, Mr. Belhimer said: “Today, as we look forward to a better future for journalism, we are inspired by the honourable sacrifices and the deep transformation that the profession is witnessing in light of the process of building a new Algeria based on a safe and comprehensive transition towards digitization, which was the subject of the contest of the President of the Republic Award for Professional Journalist on the occasion of the National Journalist Day on October 22, 2020.
He added that the President of the Republic “made of the freedom of the press a constant principle enshrined in the Constitution of November, 1st 2020, with all the guarantees that provide the journalist with the necessary freedom to exercise his duties professionally and ethically.” As provided for by law 54 of the constitution which stipulates that “press misdemeanour cannot be subject to a deprivation of freedom”
Belhimer highlighted, in this context, that the positions of the President of the Republic, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, in this regard “were reflected by actions that gave to this new trend its actual dimension, especially through his periodic meetings with various national public and private media, and even foreign ones.” He also made of social media platforms “a direct and interactive means. through which he addresses the citizens wherever they are, with all honesty and transparency.”
The minister added “an executive decree was promulgated last November related to online media activity, which stipulates that publishing via the website should be hosted exclusively, materially and logically in Algeria and registered in the .dz domain.
Mr. Belhimer emphasized that “this process, which is considered a sovereign measure, is being implemented with purely national competencies that have successfully thwarted piracy attempts that target websites known to defend Algeria’s interests, especially during the process of transferring content and hosting into the homeland,” noting that the issuance of the special decree relating to electronic media “falls within the framework of major reform workshops based on two main axes”.
The first axis is “strengthening the legislative and regulatory system for the communication sector and its conformity with the provisions of the constitution. For example, a committee was recently established at the ministry’s level in conjunction with the audiovisual control authority and with the contribution of specialized experts concerned with adapting and updating the audiovisual law of 2014.”
The adaptation and updating process also includes “projects related to advisory agencies in communication, advertising, the organic law for the media and the decision to open the candidacy aimed at granting licenses to establish thematic television broadcasting services”.
As for the second axis, it relates to “controlling digitalization through the provision of advanced equipment and related training in order to be able to produce safe and varied national cyber content”.
After highlighting the importance of electronic media in the journalist’s performance of duties, Mr. Belhimer said that from January to April 2021, he conducted many dialogues with national and foreign newspapers and websites, focusing on topical issues such as the Covid-19 pandemic, the systematic cyber cyber warfare targeting Algeria and the situation in the Sahel region and the normalization of relations with the Zionist entity, pointing out that during the same meetings, emphasis was laid on “the reality of the communication sector and the reforms that it undertook in an effort to upgrade the profession of journalism and develop the sector’s performance in various fields.”
In an effort to rationalize the exploitation of the capabilities of Alcomsat 1, which is the first Algerian satellite in the field of telecommunications, an executive decree was promulgated in 2020 amending and supplementing the basic law of the Algerian Public Enterprise for Radio and Television Broadcasting.
In this context, the minister explained that according to this amendment, the Algerian Radio and Television Broadcasting Enterprise “can conclude any commercial contract aimed at providing direct satellite broadcasting service for audiovisual services by all appropriate technical means and leasing the appropriate capabilities via national and foreign satellites.”
* The Algerian press is aware of the size of the challenges it faces *
Meanwhile, Mr. Belhimer affirmed that the Algerian press, which celebrates, like the world press, the freedom of the press this year under the slogan “Information as a public interest”, “ is aware of the size of the challenges it faces in the field of contributing to building strong societies, especially in terms of using trusted information in all transparency in order to produce and distribute professional media content and to face up to misinformation and dangerous fallacies that constitute the weapon of the fourth generation wars, ”highlighting that“ the national effort is confirmed in light of the strong competitive media presence that attracts the Algerian audience through various foreign communication media. ”
He added, “In line with this reality and to strengthen the role of the thematic public media, specialized television channels were launched in 2020, represented by the Third, Knowledge and Memory channels, pending the completion of the process with other channels, such as the Parliamentary Channel and the International Channel, in addition to opening offices for Algerian TV in world capitals.”
It is also in consecration of the freedom of the press and the citizen’s right to the media – the Minister of Communication went on to say- “the same period witnessed the completion of new regional radio headquarters in the provinces of Mostaganem and Tebessa, in addition to the emergence of new news papers and the registration of 75 websites, in addition to the delivery of 37 certificates of registration of a media device via the Internet after making sure that they are hosted at the .dz domain, with the number of secure websites in Algeria reaching 100 sites from now until the next summer.
The minister added, “As much as we are proud of the presence of approximately 8,500 journalists and 180 daily newspapers that benefit from the state’s support for printing papers and public advertising, we always look forward to promoting the role of pluralistic free and responsible journalism that will remain an essential ally in promoting human rights and democracies and in achieving sustainable development as well as contributing in making the desired impact in the audience’s behaviour and their interaction with events.”
Mr. Belhimer affirmed, in this regard, his encouragement “for an integrated approach aimed at strengthening the relationship of trust between the press and the citizen, especially since 69% of Algerians are convinced that the national press exercises freedom of regular and permanent criticism of the government’s performance without being subjected to any prosecution according to the results of a survey conducted by a foreign university.”
The Minister did not miss the occasion of the celebration of the World Press Freedom Day to extend to all female and male journalists his sincere congratulations, reiterating his “absolute” support for all efforts aimed at promoting the profession, wishing to the family of journalists “all the brilliance that suits their common sacrifices and aspirations to continuously develop their performance in light of freedom of speech and truthfulness of information as well as the responsibility of the source ”.
Mr. Belhimer also paid tribute to the souls of the martyrs of the profession of journalism who “defended its honour and the values of truth, peace and justice with their pure souls, especially during the difficult periods that Algeria has gone through, the most recent of which is the Corona virus pandemic.”