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Bouteflika urged to reverse Algerian press freedom abuses

The Committee to Protect Journalists has written to President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to protest the rising incidence of press freedom violations.

(CPJ/IFEX) - April 20, 2009

His Excellency Abdelaziz Bouteflika
C/o Embassy of Algeria
2118 Kalorama Road NW
Washington, DC 20008
Via facsimile: 202-667-2174

Dear Mr. President,

The Committee to Protect Journalists is writing to protest the rising incidence of press freedom violations, many of which occurred during the recent electoral campaign that resulted in your re-election to a third term.

CPJ research shows that the rate of abuses began to increase in February 2006, after your government issued a draconian decree restricting free expression and placing sharp limits on discussion of the conflict that ravaged Algeria in the 1990s. In a letter we sent to you at the time, CPJ pointed out that the decree prohibits further investigation into the serious human rights abuses perpetrated in the 1990s, including the murder of dozens of journalists and the disappearances of at least two. This decree has prompted greater self-censorship in the Algerian media, has served as a new prescription for the harassment and imprisonment of critical journalists, and has widened the gap between Algerian policies and international standards for free expression.

Many Algerian journalists and human rights lawyers recently told CPJ that the siege on independent journalism has gradually intensified over these past three years and that your government seemed increasingly inclined to use harsh measures to silence and punish critical journalists.

For CPJ's complete letter, see:

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