Algerian journalists detained for criticizing minister

Algerian journalists detained for criticizing minister

Two Algerian journalists have been detained after airing interviews critical of a government minister, according to AFP citing a statement from the National Committee for the Release of Detainees (CNLD). Omar Ferhat, director of Algeria Scoop, and editor-in-chief Sofiane Ghirous were taken into custody Thursday, CNLD said on Facebook. Their website had published and subsequently removed interviews with entrepreneurs who accused Minister of Professional Training Yacine Merabi of marginalizing them at a recent Algiers event. The journalists face charges of "inciting and spreading hate speech." A third journalist from the same media outlet is under judicial supervision.

Algeria is ranked 139th out of 180 countries in the World Press Freedom Index by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), with numerous journalists currently in detention. In a report last year RSF said Algerian independent media face substantial pressure, including the frequent imprisonment of journalists and blocking of websites. Reporting on corruption or protests can lead to threats and police questioning, RSF added.

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