L'Observateur

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Date: 1992

Region: Africa

Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion

Medium: Print Journalism


Artist: Staff of L'Observateur

Confronting Bodies: Algerian Government

Dates of Action: October 22, 1992

Location: Algeria

Description of Artwork: The French-language weekly magazine L'Observateur.

The Incident: L'Observateur, known as a relatively cautious but well- written and imaginative weekly, was suspended indefinitely on October 22,after a special feature on 'Women in Politics' had included a verbatim interview with an anonymous FIS supporter under the headline 'Islamic Women. Comfortable in Their Skin? Uncomfortable in Their Century!' The interviewee minced no words, declaring that the time had come for the armed 'jidhad.' This, he explained, was just one type of 'jidhad' (holy struggle); others included the 'financial jidhad,' the spiritual 'jidhad'... We have given every chance to the people who govern. We have gone through all the stages they wanted." "Other articles in the same issue referred to the danger of 'dialogue becoming monologue' (by the government) and to the struggle against political violence, which we have ended up, for want of a better word, calling 'terrorism.' The average citizen has become hostage to this shadow-play, incomprehensible and diffuse. Only certain soundbites, mediated by the television, succeed in giving keys to understanding the scale of the drama'.

Results of Incident: On the day following L'Observateur's suspension, its management were not permitting access to the paper's journalists. Editor Hassan Haddouche did say, however, that he regarded the suspension as 'justified' in the light of what had been 'negligence, a lack of professionalism' on the part of the editorial staff in allowing the interview to be published." L'Observateur is suspended indefinitely.

Source: Africa Report, "To Tell the Truth Is Risky Business in Nigeria," Jan/Feb. 1994, Pg. 10-11