Mass media in Algeria

Authored by: Saida Kheira Benammar

Routledge Handbook on Arab Media

Print publication date:  November  2020
Online publication date:  November  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138385481
eBook ISBN: 9780429427084
Adobe ISBN:


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The emergence of mass media (print in 1830, radio in 1924, and TV in 1956) in Algeria was primarily associated with French colonization, where the colonizers used various tools to justify French occupation of Algeria and to mislead local and international public opinion, while Algerians were moving towards using available media at the time as a reaction to the French colonist misinformation. The Algerian print media (1893) appeared during the colonial period and diversified between indigenous, conservative, reformist, integrationist, resistance, and revolutionary press. The Algerian clandestine radio (1957) also played a substantial role in propagating the liberation revolution of 1954 and clarifying its aims to Algerian people. Television, however, remained under French administration until independence (1962) and under the monopoly of the Algerian regimes. The regulatory aspect of the sector remained unsettled as the Algerian government headed for media centralization in an initial period to serve the goals of the liberation revolution and the socialist system adopted in the country. Legal frameworks of media in Algeria were not the result of a political will to develop the sector; rather, they were the direct output of the political and social protests that have shaken Algeria periodically. As the Media Law N90–7, which allowed print media pluralism, was linked to the events of October 1988, similarly, the Media Law N12–05, which provided the possibility of audiovisual openness, is also linked to the protests of January 2011. Despite the early appearance of media in Algeria, the pace of its growth is slow, especially in legal and financial terms, because of the government’s tight control.

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