Authoritarianism and media in Algeria

While Algerian print media was liberalised with the introduction of private ownership in a reform package in 1989, ownership of audio-visual media (TV and radio), which constituted the largest sector of media consumption in Algeria, had remained a monopoly of the state over two decades.

This report addresses the question of whether the initiative to reform the Algerian audio-visual media sector has the potential to influence the enduring authoritarian governance in Algeria. This report suggests on the one hand that the introduction of private ownership of TV and radio holds the potential to radically change the media sector and its ability to challenge political processes for the first time since independence in 1962, opening up the possibility that an independent politically active public can emerge as a counter-weight to the state. On the other hand, the report suggests that authoritarian governance may be so deeply rooted in three key state institutions, namely the presidency, the military and state security, all of which elude parliamentary control, that they are unlikely to be fundamentally challenged by a reform of the audio-visual sector.