Algeria recalled its ambassador to France “immediately” after documentaries on Algerian anti-government protests broadcast on French public television were accused of “malice”.
While “under the pretext of freedom of expression”, the Interior Ministry in Algiers declared that the two films “are in fact attacks against the Algerian people and their institutions”, including the very influential army and powerful.
The government has criticized the “recurring nature” of French television broadcasts but has in particular mentioned two documentaries broadcast Tuesday on France 5 and the parliamentary channel.
Although long-standing Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigned last year amid mass protests, protests against the authorities, known as the Hirak movement, did not stop until the start of the war. coronavirus epidemic. Repressive measures against opponents of the government are, however, under way.
The films in particular have been criticized for mentioning social taboos such as alcohol and sex and for highlighting the socio-cultural divisions that drive the movement.
Algeria, my love, broadcast by France 5, tells the story of the Hirak protest movement through the eyes of five Algerians in their twenties across the country. Comments on social media indicated that some of the young people interviewed were a false representation of the broader Hirak movement. They also accused the filmmakers of trying to portray Algeria in a negative way.
The 70-minute documentary was produced by Franco-Algerian Mustapha Kessous, who said he was “dazzled by the beauty of Hirak, by his strength, his joy, his courage” and explained how he “wanted to understand and explain why the Algerians had finally decided to get up after so many years of resignation ”.
The second film was called Algeria: the promises of dawn and broadcast on the parliamentary channel.
The Algerian Interior Ministry cited what it called “malicious and lasting intentions on the part of certain circles, which do not wish to see peaceful relations between Algeria and France after 58 years of independence “
In April, the French ambassador to Algiers was summoned to the Algerian foreign ministry following statements on the France 24 satellite channel on Chinese medical aid.
Earlier this year, the new Algerian president, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, called for “mutual respect” in Franco-Algerian relations, saying that his country “will not accept any interference or tutelage” from abroad.
He was referring to statements made by French President Emmanuel Macron at the start of the Hirak protest movement, calling for “a transition of reasonable duration”, remarks which Algiers considered to be “interference” in its internal affairs.