Text of report by Paris-based media freedom organization Reporters Sans Frontieres on 7 January
Reporters Without Borders is disturbed to learn that state-owned printing companies that print half of Algeria's privately-owned newspapers were placed under direct government control on 5 January.
"The government has reinforced its surveillance of the press on the pretext of improving the management of state-owned companies," the organization said. "The editorial autonomy of the press is under threat at a time when Algeria is preparing a constitutional amendment that will allow President Bouteflika to be re-elected. We call for this decision to be reversed for the sake of press independence."
The move is the result of the Council for State Participation's decision on 5 January to transfer the state companies controlled by the Agency for State Management and Participation (SGP) to the communication ministry.
The SGP included six newspapers (El Moudjahid, Ech Chaab, El Massa, Horizons, El Djemhouria and En Nasr), six printers (SIA, SIO, SIE, IMAG, ! SIMPRAL and ENAP), a newsprint supply company, ALPAL, and the National Communication, Publishing and Publicity Company (ANEP).
Source: Reporters Sans Frontieres website, Paris, in English 7 Jan 08