9 January 1998


Article 19 letter to The Times regarding journalists in Algeria

Incident details


(ARTICLE 19/IFEX) - The following is the complete text of a letter from
Article 19 to "The Times" newspaper. For a copy of the editorial to which
A19 is responding, please contact them directly.

Letter printed in The Times, 6 January 1997


Your editorial today, "Algeria's Great Fear", rightly draws attention to the
need for truth and an end to the high degree of state censorship which has
made it impossible to assess with any certainty the huge human cost of the
civil war raging in Algeria, let alone help pave the way for peace.

The fact is, as government and GIA (Algerian Armed Islamic Group) forces
alike have sought to conceal the facts of this dirty war, the Algerian media
are a principal target of both sides. Between 1993 and the end of 1997, 59
editors and journalists have been assassinated, forced into hiding or exile
abroad. Others have been jailed or have had their newspapers banned for
failing to abide by an extreme and secret censorship decree issued by the
military- backed government. The effect has been to obscure responsibility
for the major crimes that are being committed and to perpetuate the conflict
by affording impunity to their perpetrators.

This appalling situation cannot be allowed to continue. International
intervention is urgently required to bring the warring parties into
discussion and we urge most strongly that the UK government use its
Presidency of the EU to initiate such a discussion.

Yours faithfully

Frances D'Souza

Executive Director, ARTICLE 19


ARTICLE 19: Global Campaign for Free Expression
6-8 Amwell Street
United Kingdom
info (@) article19.org
Phone: +44 20 7278 9292
Fax: +44 20 7278 7660
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