Algerian Media to Sign the Diversity Charter

Date: 7 March 2015

Country: Algeria

Algeria_Roundtable_March_2015If you were born to unknown parents or you are a single mother, if you are immigrant or disabled or a member of an ethnic minority, there are big chances that media would not know how to report on the issues concerning you. Or they would not report on them at all. One  of the ways to improve media situation and to achieve a better representation of marginalised groups and cultural minorities is to sign the Diversity Charter. The Charter was created by the Media Diversity Institute (MDI) as a guidance on ethical principles for reporting on marginalised communities.

The Diversity Charter, as well as inclusiveness of the Algerian media, were  the discussed at the MDI roundtable held in Algiers on 7 March.

“The central purpose of the Diversity Charter is to give a voice to those who don’t have one,” said Ghada Hamrouche , editor-in-chief at the Huffington Post Maghreb. Huffington Post has already signed the MDI Diversity Charter. Presenting the guidelines on covering marginalised groups, Hamrouche said that the most read and the most shared stories online are the human stories, the articles which main characters are the people away from the public spotlight.

Algeria_Roundtable_March_2015_2The rountable in Algiers was atteneded by several civil society organisations’ reprsentatives, by editors and journalists of the most prominent Algerian media as well as by the the British Embassy’s Deputy Head of Mission, Nicholas Abbott and his colleague Fayçal Ezziane.

Lamine Chikni, Reuters correspondent in Algeria and former El Khabar journalist, said that during the Black Decade the Algerian media covered only news on terrorism. “Today, there are numerous newspapers and private TV channels and their number is growing, but they lack professionalism and experience,” stressed Chikni.

According to Fayçal Hamlaoui, El Bilad News Editor, private TV channels and some other media need to be supported professionally, because they ‘report on minorities only when marking some international celebrations’. He also said that there is a great need for the local journalists’ trainings as the way to break taboos dominating Algerian society and to diversify the country’s  media content.

In the view of Fatiha Zemamouche from Echourouq TV, some media in Algeria need to ‘face their discriminatory approach to certain topics’ and to, for a start, change the language they use. At the roundtable dedicated to diversity in the Algerian media and the MDI Diversity Charter, Zemamouche gave examples of derogatory terms  such “kahlouche” (N word in Arabic) and “handicapped” which, as she said,  should not be used since they are offensive and discriminatory.

The roundtable in Algiers was organized within the MDI project “Inclusive Media for an Inclusive Society: Building the presence of youth and marginalised voices in Algeria”, supported by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.