Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

IN THE PAPERS

'Donald Trump is rolling back the clock on diversity in the cabinet'

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Did France's left inflate turnout figures in round one of the primary?

Read more

ACROSS AFRICA

Dozens killed in attack on military camp in Mali

Read more

THE DEBATE

Splintered left: French Socialists divided ahead of primary run-off (part 1)

Read more

THE DEBATE

Splintered left: Are Europe's Social Democrats obsolete? (part 2)

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Gambia: New president says Jammeh has agreed to cede power

Read more

ACROSS AFRICA

France finally grants Senegalese vets citizenship

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

Pollution threatens island paradise of Mauritius, and one Cameroonian expat's quest to bring safe drinking water to his country

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Publicis boss encourages firms to move staff to Paris post-Brexit

Read more

Africa france 24

Algeria shuts TV station after airing interview with former Islamist insurgent

© Fayez Nureldine, AFP file picture | Mezrag during a press conference in Algiers, on October 29, 2006

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2015-10-12

Algerian authorities on Monday shut down a private TV station after it aired an interview with a former Islamist insurgent leader who criticised President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and warned him to not get in his way of starting up a political party.

The communication ministry lodged a complaint against the El Watan TV station following the broadcast of comments from Madani Mezrag earlier this month, in which he attacked Bouteflika for barring him from creating a political party.

The channel “operates in an illegal manner and broadcasts subversive content and was detrimental to state symbols”, the ministry said in a statement.

In the interview, Mezrag, founder of the Islamic Salvation Army (AIS), the armed wing of the now-banned Islamic Salvation Front party (FIS), warned President Bouteflika, saying: “If he doesn’t rethink his position, he will hear from me things he has never heard before.”

“The man who gives me orders hasn’t yet been born.” Mezrag added.

On Monday, police forced the 171 staff to leave the station.

The station’s owner, Dfajar Chelli, said he would appeal the decision.

More than 40 private television channels work out of Algeria but only five of them have official accreditation, according to the communications ministry. Others are tolerated by authorities.

"El Watan has stepped over the line of tolerance," a ministry source said of the shut-down.

The station is based in London and broadcasts from the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus but has offices in Algiers.

Mezrag’s Islamic Salvation Army was formed during the North African nation’s “black decade” in the 1990s, triggered by a ban on the FIS which was poised to win legislative elections. Ensuing violence between security forces and Islamic insurgents left an estimated 200,000 people dead.

Mezrag had cut a ceasefire deal with Algerian authorities in 1997 in which his group laid down arms. The deal forbids Mezrag from taking up politics but the former fighter remains determined.

(FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP, REUTERS)

Date created : 2015-10-12

  • ALGERIA

    Algerian leader ‘retires’ all-powerful intelligence chief

    Read more

COMMENT(S)