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Government takes direct control of six state printers

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders is disturbed to learn that state-owned printing companies that print half of Algeria's privately-owned newspapers were placed under direct government control on 5 January 2008.

"The government has reinforced its surveillance of the press on the pretext of improving the management of state-owned companies," the organisation said. "The editorial autonomy of the press is under threat at a time when Algeria is preparing a constitutional amendment that will allow President Bouteflika to be reelected. We call for this decision to be reversed for the sake of press independence."

The move is the result of the Council for State Participation's decision on 5 January to transfer the state companies controlled by the Agency for State Management and Participation (SGP) to the communication ministry. The SGP included six newspapers ("El Moudjahid", "Echaab", "El Massa", "Horizons", "El Djemhouria" and "En Nasr"), six printers (SIA, SIO, SIE, IMAG, SIMPRAL and ENAP), a newsprint supply company, ALPAL, and the National Communication, Publishing and Publicity Company (ANEP).

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