South of Algeria, Forgotten by the Media?

Date: 2 March 2014

Country: Algeria, Algiers

Algeria_Roundtable_FRONT“South, forgotten by the media” wrote La Liberté, the Algerian daily newspaper referring to the outcome of the roundtable on media coverage of South of Algeria organized by the Media Diversity Institute (MDI) in Algiers on 2 March 2014.

At the beginning of the conference, Liberté Editor, Abrous Outoudert said: “As soon as the idea of the conference was suggested to me by the MDI Coordinator in Algiers, I said yes, not only as a media person, but also as a citizen.”

Talking about the media coverage of the South of Algeria he said the region has attracted some media attention last year. But that was due to security related issues and instability, as well as due to the protests against unemployment and the recent clashes between Berbers and Arabs in Ghardaia. When these acute problems calm down, agreed the speakers at the MDI roundtable in Algiers, media will forget the South again.

Overall, the discussion echoed the progress of the media coverage which has diverged from the typical stories on tourism of the South and it has included stories concerning society and security instead. Fayçal Maarfia, a tourism expert and the editor of a touristic magazine, noticed the press coverage still is not enough. To emphasize on the perpetual centralization in the North, he gave the example of the call for prayers which is broadcasted only according to Algiers time zone and despite the time difference between the North and the South.


Algeria_Roundtable_LASTThe media decision makers and journalists present at the event were also unanimous to say that the South needs support to develop its local media. The representative of the “Ligue Algérienne de Défense des Droits de l’Homme” (Algerian League for the Defense of Human Rights) added that the absence or the lack of coverage of southern regions is due to the tough laws imposed to people who want to launch newspapers.

The MDI roundtable in Algiers, organized as a part of the project “Inclusive Media for an Inclusive Society: Building the presence of youth and marginalised voices in Algeria “, was widely covered by the local media, TV and newspapers, which highlighted the importance of such events.