In the Official Journal published on October 16th, the Algerian government announced it will attribute broadcasting licenses for seven private television channels, and launched a call for offers.
This first step towards opening Algerian broadcasting to the private sector has been expected since 2010, when President Abdelaziz Bouteflika said he wanted to allow private channels to broadcast officially in the country.
Once the call for offers is closed, only seven channels will be granted a license, whereas in May the Minister of Communication Hamid Grine announced he wanted to open ten channels to the private sector. One will be a news channel, while the others will be themed channels devoted respectively to sport, culture, youth, documentaries, cooking, series and entertainment.
They will have to broadcast programmes in one of the country’s two official languages, Arabic and Tamazight, although foreign languages will be tolerated for content intended for broadcast abroad.
Once published in the national media, the call for offers will be open for 60 days, but the Autorité de Régulation de l’Audiovisuel (ARAV) may decide to extend that by a further 30 days. The ARAV will also organise the auditions, before passing on its recommendations to the government, which alone is authorized to attribute broadcasting licenses.
Since 2012 some fifty private channels have been broadcasting in Algeria without authorization. These Algerian television stations under foreign law have operational staff in the country but transmit from abroad, mainly from the Middle East. At present only five of these channels have government-accredited offices, although even they don’t have official approval to broadcast in Algeria: Ennahar TV, Echourouk TV, Hogar TV, Dzair TV and El Djazairia TV.
Sources: TSA Algérie, Cap Algérie, RFI, Le Jeune Indépendant