Algeria Defamation Laws: A Legal Primer
As of 2015, Algeria is in the midst of a defamation reform. Currently, Algeria defamation laws allow for substantial monetary fines and imprisonment.
Algeria Defamation = Media Unfriendly
Articles 144 b, 144 b.1, and 146 of the Algerian legal code delineates punishments for offending the President, the Parliament, the military or any other public institution. What is the punishment? One to three years in prison and/or 100,000 to 1 million dinar fine [US$1400 to 14,000]. The same sanctions apply to media executives and publications. Punishments double for recidivist offenders.
Algerian Defamation Laws Favor Public Officials Over Private Individuals
Article 298 of the Algerian code punishes defamation of private individuals with a fine of 5,000 to 50,000 dinars and/or five days to six months in prison. Defamation with the intent to incite intolerance toward members of racial or religious groups is punishable by imprisonment of one month to one year and/or a fine of 10,000 to 100,000 dinars.
Under the defamation provisions, it is a greater crime to offend the State or its representatives than it is to offend a private individual.
Defamation Law Reform In Algeria
On December 14, 2011, Algerian lawmakers approved a controversial media law. Advocates of the current Algerian libel statutes say the law restricts journalists from undermining Algeria’s sovereignty, national identity, economy and security. However, opponents to the latest set of Algeria defamation law updates, are urging officials to work towards more free speech friendly standards.