European Parliament (EP) adopted on Thursday, by a very large majority (536 votes in favor, 4 against, 18 abstentions), at an emergency resolution expressing concern about the significant deterioration of press freedom in Algeria since the Hirak protests in 2019 and the harassment of journalists.
With this resolution, the European Parliament urges the Algerian authorities to immediately release all those arbitrarily detained and charged for exercising their right to freedom of expression, including prominent journalist Ihsane El-Kadi.
Ihsane El-Kadi, a prominent Algerian journalist and manager of “Interface Médias”, one of the last independent media enterprises in Algeria, with the online outlets Radio M and Maghreb Emergent, was arrested without a warrant the night of 23-24 December 2022.
On 2 April 2023 an Algerian court sentenced El-Kadi to five years’ imprisonment, of which two suspended, a fine of 700 million Algerian dinars, the dissolution of his media company and the confiscation of its assets following his conviction on unfounded charges of “receiving funds for political propaganda” and “harming the security of the state”.
The resolution called on the Algerian authorities to amend security-related charges in the country’s Penal Code used to criminalise the right to freedom of expression.
It noted that, ever since the so-called Hirak protests in 2019, the situation of media freedom had taken a substantial turn for the worse in Algeria, with the authorities blocking more news sites and publications critical of the government.
The European Parliament called for the EU’s institutions and Member States to raise El-Kadi’s case with Algeria’s authorities and openly condemn the crackdown on media freedom.
Parliament urged all EU institutions and member states to openly condemn the crackdown on media freedom in Algeria, while calling on the EU delegation and EU countries’ embassies on site to request access to imprisoned journalists and observe their trials.
Finally, MEPs want the Algerian authorities to guarantee visa and accreditation authorisation to foreign journalists and their freedom to operate.