Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Media: Algeria cancels initiation to Tunisian journalist

Reporters Without Borders has condemned a decision by the French Cultural Centre in Algiers to cancel an invitation to Tunisian journalist Taoufik Ben Brik to present his latest book. “Ben Brik has not been able to express himself in the Tunisian press for years and now he faces censorship by the Algerian authorities,” the press freedom organisation said. “Regardless of the pressure to which it may have been subjected, one can only deplore the French embassy’s lack of support.”

Ben Brik was told that the literary meeting at the French Cultural Centre planned for 22 January had been postponed indefinitely. He was to have presented his latest book, “I will not leave,” published in Algeria by Chihab. He said the French embassy received a call from the office of the Algerian president asking it to cancel the meeting. Reached by telephone by Reporters Without Borders, the French embassy’s cultural attachĂ© refused to comment. In May 2000, Ben Brik was banned from taking an Air AlgĂ©rie flight to Algiers, where he had planned to formally call off a hunger strike.