Fake news / Algerian state TV accused of engaging in “propaganda”

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Attentive social media users noticed how the taxpayer-funded channel, ‘Établissement national de télévision’ (ENTV), was using the same interviewees on separate occasions, passersby supposedly picked at random in the street.

As part of its news bulletin, the channel conducts interviews in the street, asking passersby’s opinions on the political situation in the country. Generally, the interviewees tend to agree with the authorities’ agenda and applaud the military’s role.

Passersby, supposedly picked at random, appear on different occasions to support the authorities’ roadmap. The female (pictured bottom) caused outrage when she praised the benefits of living under a dictatorship.
Here, the interviewee agrees with the military command’s roadmap of organising a presidential election as soon as possible.

It isn’t the first time the channel comes under fire for spreading fake news. Upon the arrest of war veteran Lakhdar Bouregaa (which followed a statement he had made on how the army’s high command had already the name of the next president), the channel proceeded to vilify the independence war veteran and went as far as alleging that Lakhdar Bouregaa wasn’t really a war hero but that he had stolen someone’s else identity. In subsequent bulletins, the channel denied making the statement.

The coverage of the pro-democracy protest by the channel is denounced regularly. Tactics used to minimise the protest for example include selecting footage or photos that do not reflect the true size of the protests, on most bulletins, the channel does not cover the large protests at all.

When the protests are reported in the news bulletins, the commentators generally describe the protests as being “pro-army” when in reality they are nothing of the sort.

The ENTV is a taxpayer-funded channel, in the same way the BBC is in the U.K; as a public service it is supposed to remain unbiased and report accurately.

Similarly, ‘El Moudjahid’, a state-funded newspaper, had as its headline “Support for the dialogue” for its 7th of September 2019 edition, in reference to the dialogue promoted by the military’s command but largely rejected by the population; the headline also reads “Necessity for a president” and “the military’s role applauded”. In reality, millions came out to voice their rejection of a military state. The demonstrators also rejected any negotiation with the “3issaba” (the clan, in reference to the politico-military elite) and equally rejected the military command’s suggestion of organising election as soon as possible; Algerians, largely consider that elections organised by the current authorities will be plagued with fraud and would result in the election of a “puppet” president.

El Moudjahid’s headlines.

Another state-owned media, Radio Algérie, opted for having two different versions for the same event, Friday’s demonstrations; the Arabic version of the site clearly states that those who marched on Friday called for the organization of a presidential election as soon as possible while the French version speaks of a demand for profound change.

(Article last updated on: 09/09/2019

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