Algerian state TV presenter ‘sacked’ over protest support

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An Algerian state television presenter has been fired after slamming the media’s role in supporting the regime of ex-leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika and pushing for greater freedoms, colleagues said Thursday.

Abderrezak Siah, who hosted the evening news on the A3 channel, was dismissed by the outlet’s management on Saturday, Canal Algeria reporter Abdelmadjid Benkaci told AFP.

Demonstrators in the north African country are pressing for sweeping reforms after Bouteflika resigned last month in the face of huge protests.

At an event on April 29, Siah lambasted broadcasters for their slavish backing of the veteran’s 20-year rule and called for a freer media.

“Public television was not the mouthpiece for the state but the mouthpiece for corruption,” he said.

“Our main mission is to provide a public service, and I call on all television journalists and young people from the protest movement to peacefully support our fight.”

After protests erupted across Algeria in February journalists from state media denounced “pressure” from their bosses to refrain from reporting on the demonstrations.