May 30, 2023

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Imprisoned Ihsane El Ghadi cannot cover the 2024 Algerian presidential election.

(Ecofin Agency) – Iconic journalist Ihsane El-Gadi of the Independent Algerian Press was sentenced to 5 years in prison, including 3 years for “foreign financing of his business”. His only crimes were taking money from his daughter and not bowing to the intimidation of power.

The news had a bombshell impact not only in Algeria but beyond, across North Africa. The journalist, who had already been sentenced to six months in jail on a complaint by the former communications minister over an article, was arrested on December 24 and placed in pre-trial detention. “Foreign funds of his company”. Officials accuse him of receiving £25,000 from his daughter, from Great Britain, to cover staff salaries and the running costs of his media. Behind this pretext, Algerian judges are trying to forcefully surrender one of the last free pens in Algeria. What about Ihsane El Khadi? He has already experienced this situation in his long career. No faith can replace the journalist’s commitment to freedom.

A revolution in genes

Ihsaneh El Ghady’s refusal to bend the knee may be written into his DNA. In fact, born on April 27, 1959 in Tripoli, Libya, the son of journalist Bachir El Ghadi. In Libya, his father runs the intelligence base of the National Liberation Front (FLN), the party formed to wrest Algeria’s independence from France. So the young Ihsaneh El Ghady grew up in an environment where independence and freedom were key values. These values ​​lead the young man to join the Revolutionary Communist Party (GCR) while studying economics at the University of Algiers. It was in this group that he had his first experience in prison in 1981. That year, he demonstrated with students for the recognition of the Amazigh language and Berber culture, which led to his arrest. He emerges from prison saying that journalism is the only way to protect marginalized voices.

A fearless and blameless journalist

Within a few years, he became a well-known face on the local media landscape, among other things for his undying reputation and his penchant for information. In the 90s, he became the editor-in-chief of the daily Tribune. In this position, he stands out especially for his courage. In the midst of the civil war, when many journalists were killed, he did not hesitate to conduct investigations that put him at risk and that his colleagues wanted to avoid in order to save their lives. Discontinued in 1997. “It was 1994, the darkest hour of the civil war in Algeria. Journalists were dropping like flies under the terrorists’ bullets. Despite all the pressure, he maintained his stability and did not avoid covering everything.She remembers her friend Tyga Tridi. “He opened our eyes to the issues of missing persons, abductions by the security forces. He said, ‘It is the beating heart of journalism.she says.

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Abdelaziz Bouteflika took power in 1999, ending the civil war. Ihsane El Ghady collaborates for a while with a French-language daily El VathanLater, in July 2007, he participated in the creation of the International Economic Journal in Switzerland. Africans “. Media is the first pan-African weekly written by journalists in Africa. Ihsane El Gadi heads the Algiers office of Interface Media. Three years later, in 2010, Moroccan investor Abderazak Sitail succeeded in taking control of the weekly with Maksan’s funding.” Africans Morocco Men is becoming a powerhouse. Editor and administrator Adama Wade’s first decision was to close the office in Algiers.

Ihsaneh El Khadi is a newspaper boss

No matter, since 2009, Ihsane El Ghady has been thinking about creating an economic medium. Paper media can be more expensive, but online media is more accessible. Together with his lifelong friend Saïd Djaafer, they created Maghreb Emergent, a media specializing in economic news. “Through Maghreb Emergent, he contributes to bringing the economic decisions of entrepreneurs and public authorities out of the opacity. Maghreb Emergent was launched in this spirit to provide reliable and enlightening information on themes that have a major impact on the lives of individuals and the country, more topical than ever before., the media writes in a recent article. In 2013, Ihsaneh El Khadi launched a second title, Radio M. It broadcasts several economic programs on its website and receives prestigious guests such as Nobel Prize winner for economics Jean Troll. His candor and attention to detail soon won him a considerable audience in the media and the respect of his peers and colleagues for the author. “He takes care of all the articles. He does not oppose any of the ideas of his journalists, but there is no room for error. If we were, Radio M and Maghreb Emerging would have been closed a long time ago. Abu Bakr Khalid, who collaborated on both platforms, says:

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Ihsaneh El Khadi’s media is like him: authentic, free from excessive complacency of power and closed to compromise. Algerian journalist, in 2019, in Hiraq, it is quite natural to participate in the series of demonstrations against the candidacy of Abdelaziz Bouteflika for the fifth presidency. A transition period. As one of the faces of the struggle, Ihsane El Ghady receives the 2019 Omar Ortilan Prize for Press Freedom. The prize, named after the founder of El Khabar newspaper, who was assassinated by fundamentalists on October 3, 1995, rewards a journalist. An investigation into the struggle for freedom and democracy in Algeria. Meanwhile, Hirak continues. Abdelaziz Bouteflika is leaving power in 2019, but Hirag continues to demand a civilian government. The military takes over and suppresses the protests. Even the election of Abdelmadjid Tebboune, who is considered a military candidate, will not change anything. Two days before the Algerian legislative elections on June 12, 2021, Ihsane El Ghadi was arrested along with opponent Karim Tabou and his journalist colleague Khaled Trareni. Arrests, investigations and arrests brought the majority of journalists into line; Both didn’t care.

A history of arrests, summonses… intimidation

In 2020, former Minister of Communications Ammar Belhimer filed a complaint against Ihsane El Ghadi following an article challenging the legitimacy of Rasaad, a conservative Islamic movement designated as a terrorist by the authorities. The journalist watches Option to convert feet to HIRAC unit “. Following this complaint, he was initially sentenced to six months in prison in June 2022, a conviction upheld on appeal. Despite those advising him to keep a low profile, Ihsaneh el-Gadi refuses.” The country, the citizens need us, so we stay and inform them He repeated. “He is not to be intimidated”, says his colleague Khaled Trareni. Ihsaneh El Khadi will finally be placed under judicial control.

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He was arrested again on the night of December 23-24, 2022. Interface Media’s premises are tested and sealed. Radio M and Maghreb Emergent Media are banned. In January 2023, an Algerian judge confirmed his detention. He has been charged “Foreign funds of his company”. However, his relatives assert that he only received £25,000 from his daughter, from Great Britain, to cover staff salaries and the running costs of his media. Despite everything, on March 26, 2023, the prosecutor sought a five-year sentence against him.

The verdict was announced on April 2, 2023: the Sidi M’Hamad court in Algiers sentenced Ihsaneh El Gadi to five years in prison, including three years in prison. This news caused a real outcry in Algeria and provoked reactions around the world. In the eyes of most observers, Ihsane El Ghady and the entire Interface Media team are paying for their refusal to fall in line. But whatever. The founder of Radio M has lost his freedom of movement, but it’s a safe bet that he’s already thinking about a plan that will allow him to continue his information from his cell, in three years, one way or another. of another. Algerian power knows that and probably doesn’t care. The conflicting voice of the interactive media will not disrupt the 2024 presidential election. That is the point.

Servan Ahoughnon