Monday, 18 July 2011

Algeria: DRS purchase of Beur TV

Last week, we reported that the DRS, through one of its 'front men' had bought the French satellite TV channel, Beur TV. We can now give more details of the DRS' actions in this regard.

The background is that the Algerian national TV and radio broadcast network is wholly state-owned. The state, therefore, controls all of Algeria's broadcast media except the satellite channels. Access to these is relatively limited due to the relative lack of encoder and satellite reception facilities.

One of the key and much-publicised components of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's promised reform process is that the broadcast media will be opened up. This is not because the regime necessarily wants to provide its citizens with access to more than its own very poor quality services. It is simply that the country's citizens are gradually finding ways and means of accessing external broadcast channels.

The state's soon-to-be-presented reform on opening up the broadcast media to foreign and private channels, however, is not so much a retreat in front of technologies that it cannot entirely control, as a strategy designed to 'get ahead of the game'. The DRS is planning to control the new broadcast media in three ways.

For more news and expert analysis about Algeria, please see Algeria Focus and Algeria Politics & Security.

© 2011 Menas Associates

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