The international committee that supports the imprisoned Algerian journalist Khaled Drareni has decided to step up pressure for his release by launching a major international solidarity campaign entitled #WeAreKhaled.
Shocked and outraged by the three-year jail term and 50,000-dinar fine imposed on Drareni by a court in the Algiers district of Sidi M'hamed on 10 August, the organizations and well-known figures who set up the committee in July reached this decision at a meeting held the day after he was sentenced.
After an initial launch on social media, the campaign will be publicized in the press, in banners on public buildings and via every other possible medium worldwide. The support committee also envisages organizing events in major cities in various parts of the world as soon as the northern hemisphere's summer vacation is over.
"In solidarity with Khaled Drareni, the victim of judicial persecution for simply exercising his right to provide independent news coverage, and in response to the absurd, arbitrary and cruel nature of his sentence, we urge social media users to replace their profile photo with the #WeAreKhaled visual and to voice support for Khaled in their personal news feed," the committee said.
The Algeria correspondent of Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the French TV channel TV5 Monde and editor of the Casbah Tribune news site, Drareni was arrested in March on charges of "inciting an unarmed gathering" and "endangering national unity" because of his coverage of Algeria's "Hirak" protest movement. During the trial, the prosecution also accused him of criticizing the Algerian political system on Facebook.
Algeria is ranked 146th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2020 World Press Freedom Index, five places lower than in 2019 and 27 places lower than in 2015.