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Back to Top Algeria Not Free LE: 22 PE: 23 EE: 17 Total Score: 62 According to Algerias constitution, press freedom is a guaranteed right, but this has not stopped authorities from using legal and extralegal methods to harass the independent press.The laws were amended in 2001 to criminalize defamation of the president, the parliament, the judiciary, and the military.Article 34 of the new constitution, passed in January 2004, provides for freedom of the press and of expression.The May 2004 press law guarantees the right of citizens to obtain information and prohibits censorship.
The countrys parliament-appointed broadcast regulator, the National Council of Radio and Television (NCRT), continued to face accusations of political influence and incompetence.
Religious conservatives also targeted the progressive Tolo TV, which had been criticized by clerics for airing programs that "oppose Islam and national values." In May, a popular female television presenter who had worked at Tolo was murdered, possibly by family members who did not approve job, and other program hosts received threats or were forced off the air, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Although registration requirements remain in place, authorities have granted more than 250 publications licenses, and several dozen private radio stations and eight television stations are now broadcasting, with the expansion of independent print and broadcast outlets continuing in 2005.
Press freedom advocates in 2006 continued to urge the government to decriminalize defamation, which could incur a maximum sentence of two years in prison under existing statutes.
Although the parliament failed to act on draft amendments introduced in 2005, Prime Minister Sali Berisha in October of that year ordered government officials to use the right of reply rather than civil or criminal defamation suits to address perceived bias or inaccuracy in the media. The prospects for legal reform improved in June, when Albania signed a Stabilization and Association Agreement with the European Union.
In a high-profile case that was criticized extensively by both local and western groups, Ali Mohaqiq Nasab, editor of the monthly women's rights magazine Haqooq-i-Zan, was ordered arrested by the high court for publishing articles deemed to be "anti-Islamic." Despite the fact that the government-appointed Media Commission cleared him of blasphemy charges, he was sentenced by the high court to two years' imprisonment in October and also faced the threat of a court-issued fatwa that could have increased his sentence.