Algeria: Call for the respect of freedom of artistic expression


21 May 2012


Call for the respect of freedom of artistic expression in Algeria

“Algerian intellectuals, journalists, cultural activists, artists and writers ring the alarm and request from the Ministry of Culture to lift its control over the cultural sector and let the independent/civil cultural artistic stakeholders undertake their projects freely…”

Algerian artists and intellectuals launched this petition for freedom of expression, published by El Watan and, among others.

“For many years now, the cultural sector in Algeria has suffered from the hegemonic control of a single authority which stifles creation, takes over the spaces of artistic expression in their entirety and locks up the field of cultural action: the Ministry of Culture.

Institutionalization of artistic events, limitation of broadcast licenses for cine films and licenses for events organizers, patronage policy and invitation cards, are examples of the many actions undertaken by this ministry which have shaped, in a decade, a really restrictive public policy that destroys all independent action.

Without any cultural policy and endowed with a very important budget, this ministry, instead of playing its role of regulation of the sector and of support to the activities undertaken by the cultural associations, has become a machine of exclusion and intellectual repression generating an “official culture” which the Algerian citizen cannot relate to.

Even more dangerous, in the last few months, the Ministry of Culture doesn’t hesitate to threaten and intimidate directly any citizen who carries an action that isn’t officially “approved”. Many examples occurred just last month: intimidation of the instigators of the project of the cultural policy in Algeria, threats against the journalist who published a case on the scandal of heritage renovation in the daily newspaper El Fadjr, etc…

We, Algerian intellectuals, journalists, cultural activists, artists and writers, the majority of whom are young, ring the alarm and request from the ministry to lift its control over the cultural sector and let the independent/civil cultural artistic stakeholders undertake their projects freely.

In addition we urge international organizations, towards which Algeria committed itself to respect the right of freedom of artistic expression and cultural action of the citizens, to take the measures necessary to press the Ministry of Culture to loosen the tight net around the forces of creation in Algeria.”

Algiers, May 2012

First signatories (the list remains open):

1) Ammar Kessab (international expert in cultural policies)
2) Fatma Baroudi (arts journalist / Djazair News)
3) Said Khatibi (arts journalist / Doha Magazine)
4) Hadjoudja Benyoucef (visual artist)
5) Bachir Mefti (writer and arts journalist)
6) Ahmed Cheniki (professor of theater stidies, Annaba University)
7) Fayssal Benmalek (scenographer)
8) Sarra Ghaib (cultural entrepreneur)
9) Nadjib Sellali (photojournalist)
10) Souilah Mourad (scriptwriter)
11) Sara Kharfi (arts journalist / Liberté)
12) Mohammed Belkacem El Chaieb (writer)
13) Sarah Haidar (arts journalist / Djazair News)
14) Aicha Belabid (researcher)
15) Latifa Darib (arts journalist / El Massa)
16) Ferhaoui Nour El Yakine (photojournalist)
17) Ismael Hadj Kouider (radio director)
18) Sofiane Hargous (film student)
19) Amine Idjer (arts journalist / Liberté)
20) Samy Abdelguerfi (arts journalist 2.0)
21) Farid Houda (essayist)
22) Allia Ahmed (arts journalist / Liberté)
23) Zahia Manceur (arts journalist / El Fadjr)
24) Ben Saed Kalouli (essayist)
25) Amine Bentameur (producer-director)
26) Ali Ait Djoudi (songwriter)
27) Moula Nourdine (cultural coordinator)
28) Fateh Boulaacheb (arts journalist / EchChahed)
29) Wassyla Tamzali (writer and essayist)
30) Karima Smaali (student french litterature)
31) Naïma Kaddour (image editor / Magnum Photos)
32) Belaid Bitar (curator)
33) Ismahane Amoura (architect geographer)
34) Farid Sahel (design manager – communication system)
35) Abd El Aali Mesghiche (poet and arts journalist)
36) Rachid Titouah (translator)
37) Hayet Sertah (arts journalist / El Fadjr)
38) Mohamed Ouanezar (arts journalist)
39) Hana Menasria (arts journalist / Liberté)
40) Nachida Kouadri (arts journalist / El Chorouk el Yaoumi)
41) Salim Betka (professor, Biskra University)
42) Nadir Iddir (arts journalist / El Watan)
43) Faten Hayed (arts journalist / El Watan)
44) Farouk Zahi (senior)
45) Shanez Kechroud (consultant)
46) Larbi Rabdi (researcher, publication director)

To sign this appeal, send an email to:


This text in French language


Africultures – May 2012:

‘Appel au respect de la liberté d'expression artistique et d'action culturelle en Algérie’

Go to top
Related reading on

Algeria: Call for the respect of freedom of artistic expression
"Algerian intellectuals, journalists, cultural activists, artists and writers ring the alarm and request from the Ministry of Culture in Algeria to lift its control over the cultural sector..."
21 May 2012
Algeria: Tunesian singer expelled and banned by Algerian authorities
“After the two concerts in Algiers and Bejaia, the Algerian authorities have expelled me and banned me from reentering Algerian territory,” wrote the singer Bendir Man
15 August 2011
Algeria: Lounès Matoub court case loaded with contradictions
On 18 July 2011, the criminal court in Tizi Ouzou finally judged the two alleged perpetrators of the assassination of Lounés Matoub to 12 years in prison
01 August 2011
Algeria: New trial for the murder of singer Matoub
A trial about the murder of the singer Lounès Matoub on 25 June 1998 is scheduled to open on 18 July 2011 in the criminal court in Tizi Ouzou
12 July 2011
Algeria: Death threats did not silence rapper Solo Montana
In 2008, the young Algerian rapper Solo Montana stopped performing, left Algeria and took refuge in Canada after he had received death threats. Now he is back on stage
01 June 2011
Middle East: Hip-hop is a soundtrack to the North African revolt
Hip-hop plays a central role in the revolts in Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria and Libya. Rap songs create an important platform for communication creating moral support
20 April 2011
The Middle East: New restrictions on satellite tv
Freedom of expression in the Middle East suffered a major setback on 12 February 2008 when 21 information ministers of the Arab League agreed on a new satellite tv charter
20 February 2008
Jonas Otterbeck: Islamic reactions to the music of today
A working paper, 22 pages in PDF-format, to be published as a chapter in the book 'Religion, Media, and Modern Thought in the Arab World', Cambridge Scholars Press Ltd.
13 November 2007
Song for Music Freedom Day 2008
Recorded for Freemuse and the Music Freedom Day, the rap song '152 mesures contre la censure' features 10 rappers who are concerned with censorship issues in Algeria
15 May 2007
Rabah Donquishoot
Video interview with Rabah Donquishoot from the Algerian rap group MBS about the situation in 2006 concerning music censorship in Algeria
14 May 2007
Algeria/France: Raï outlaw dies
The Algerian legendary raï music star, Cheikha Rimitti, passed away on May 15, 2006, in Paris, 83 years old.
18 May 2006
Algeria: Souad Massi - exiled voice of Algeria
Algerian singer and guitarist Souad Massi is a celebrity with a growing global following. Her music was banned in Algeria which she fled in 2000
17 January 2006
Algerian rai musician: Censorship on political songs in the West
Algerian musician and rai rebel Rachid Taha has told BBC World Service that he believes Western radio stations deliberately refrain from airing political songs.
10 March 2005
Algeria: Ban on album of artist in exile
The second album of Baâziz (Abdelazziz Bekhti) was banned in Algeria upon release.
07 October 2004
Algeria: Matoub Lounès - Berber Guerilla of Pop
The story of the legendary Algerian singer who was assassinated in 1998. Chapter from 'Shoot the Singer! Music Censorship Today' (May 2004)
01 October 2004
Shoot the Singer! - table of contents
Read selected chapters of 'Shoot the Singer! Music Censorship Today' - and see the contents of the included CD
20 April 2004
Mehdi Haddab
Interview with Mehdi Haddab (France/Algeria). Censorship of music in Algeria
25 November 2002
Algeria: Cheb Hasni - popular rai hero assassinated
Article on rai singer Cheb Hasni who was assassinated for his music by religious militants on 29 September 1994.
01 January 2001