Algeria: Press Day - Regulation, Organization 'Burning Issue'

Algiers — The corporation of the Algerian journalists will celebrate Friday the World Press Freedom Day in a crucial national context where the regulation of the press and the organization of the profession are burning issues, 30 years after the opening of the media field.

The absence of a Board of Ethics and Professional Conduct in the national press has undermined its credibility and professionalism, according to several media professionals who consider that the setting up of this body has become a necessity for the institution of the professional ethics and rules of journalism.

The existence of a board of ethics and professional conduct, as stipulated in the organic law on information, will be able "to contribute to the raising of moral standards in the press and to end the disinformation in Algeria," according to these professionals.

The information law, promulgated in 2012, devotes a chapter to the respect of the ethics and professional conduct, by explaining in details the principles that the journalists must respect while exercising their activity.

This law provides for the setting up of a national body of ethics and professional conduct of the press, elected by the corporation, which will ensure the respect by the media of the rules of ethics. However, this provision has remained a dead letter.

See also: Audiovisual media outlets called upon to respect deontology principles

The Algerian press is also expecting the setting up of the Written Press Regulatory Authority (ARPE), provided for by the same law.

Nevertheless, a step has been taken in terms of regulation with the liberalization of the audiovisual space (law 14-03 of 24 February 2014), the decriminalization of press offences and the implantation of the Broadcasting Regulatory Authority (ARAV).

The law maker who wanted to grant ARAV a weight and decision-making autonomy, "didn't endow it with the necessary means for its functioning," while "the issue of its status and budget remained unresolved," lamented this institution last February.

The absence of a real trade union able to defend the journalists' interests and to work for the improvement of their socio-economic rights was tackled several times by the sector's professionals.

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