After several periods of discussion in parliament, the draft of the new law that will veto dual nationals in the media has been approved

Algerian parliament plans to certify new media law despite amendments

photo_camera PHOTO/FAROUK BATICHE - File photo of Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune speaks during his swearing-in ceremony, 19 December 2019

The Algerian government of Abdelmadjid Tebboune will maintain the texts of the draft of the new media law despite criticism. After long and intense debates in the legislature, the new media law was approved by a majority vote despite the amendments tabled by the opposition. Discussions on the law stem from the insertion of exclusionary methods of intervention in the media for anyone with dual nationality, according to a statement issued by the Council. In this way, the government seeks to ensure that there is no foreign capital in the local media that could lead to the dissemination of news that could be considered "uncomfortable" for Algiers. 

The communiqué did not specify how many of the 462 members voted in favour, although it had obtained a majority. According to the notice issued after the law was passed, the committee reportedly justified the restriction on dual nationals as "blocking the doors to parties hostile to Algeria who are waiting for the opportunity to invest in the media to interfere in the country's internal affairs, which would pose a threat to national sovereignty". The reform of Article 4 was one of the corrections proposed by the opposition that failed due to the pressure exerted by the government on the parliamentary committee in charge of approving the law. This chapter establishes the rule that prohibits people with dual nationality from working in the media. 


The obscurantism with which they tried to announce what happened inside the National People's Assembly is a clear sign that the aim of the approval of the law is to try to censor the content that is published as much as possible. From the time the law becomes effective, persons wishing to establish themselves in the media must comply with the condition of Algerian nationality, which is maintained by requiring a person to possess strictly national capital. The declaration also includes that "shareholders, partners and natural persons shall not own or hold foreign funding". 

Faced with a barrage of criticism, the government states in the communication it has issued that its reasons for refusing to pass the law are solely to "preserve the constants and national traits of Algerian identity and its basic reference to the Islamic religion, the national language, our considerations and our culture in the light, which oblige us to take preventive measures to dispense with beliefs, ideas and cultures that are improper to Algerian society". After the end of the "session of shame", as described by the opposition, the main opposition party wanted to make it clear to Algerian society that all its deputies (65) without exception had voted against the bill.


The government affirms that the law "will correct the imbalances and deficiencies of previous laws", as the Minister of Information, Mohamed Bouslimani, informed the press moments after the end of the plenary session. He added that "it was in the national interest to guarantee a free and responsible communication ethic". However, the opposition clarified that part of the criticism of the central government was based on the authoritarian behaviour of the ruling parties, who wanted to pass the law unilaterally and "not involve journalists and members of the Assembly in the consultation". 

Moreover, according to Al-Arab, the opposition pleaded with the House of Representatives to be part of Tebboune's plans by abolishing all amendments that had been proposed against this atrocity. The government, with dwindling popular support, responded to the opposition by stating that the motive of the law "is to create a robust, accountable and credible system".