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Government bans issue of French weekly for publishing article on Kabylie region

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders condemns the government's decision to ban distribution of the 4 May 2008 issue of the Paris-based news weekly "Jeune Afrique", which has an article on the Algerian region of Kabylie.

"This kind of arbitrary measure is likely to become more frequent as next year's presidential election approaches," the press freedom organisation said. "The Algerian government should ensure that the population has unrestricted access to diverse news and information instead of acting as a censor."

"Jeune Afrique" received no explanation from the Algerian authorities about the ban on distribution of its latest issue, which was clearly linked to an article by Farid Alilat entitled "Kabylie, the great malaise" about the social, economic and security problems paralysing this region, located to the east of the capital.

The weekly's editor, Marwane Ben Yahmed, told Reporters Without Borders that its distributor, FA presse, simply failed to obtain permission to distribute the issue in Algeria. "We decided to make the article available on unrestricted access on our website so that our Algerian readers can see it there," he said.

This is not the first time "Jeune Afrique" has been censored by the Algerian government. An issue with a story about Algerian businessman Rafik Abdelmoumen Khalifa was banned from sale in March 2007. In February 2004, a few weeks before the last presidential election, the authorities also banned an issue with a report headlined "Who the generals are voting for."

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