Algeria to license private TV stations

Rebecca Hawkes | 15-01-2014

The Algerian Parliament is set to discuss and vote on a long-awaited audiovisual bill, which will license private sector television channels if passed into law.

Around 20 private Algerian channels that operate from abroad, but distribute their signals by satellite into the North African country, have also been invited by Communications Minister Abdelkader Messahel to have their licences extended from 31 December 2013, reports

Legislation to open the television and radio market was first promised by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in January 2011. After a three-year wait, a National Assembly vote on the audiovisual bill is now scheduled for 20 January 2014, following scrutinsation by MPs.

Satellite channels including Numidia News TV, Canal Algerie, TVA3, Tamazight TV, Coran TV, Echorouk TV, El Djazairiya TV, Ennahar TV, Hoggar TV, Dzairshop TV, L'Index TV, Dzair TV, Al Atlas TV, Djurdjura Children's Channel and Samira all currently compete for viewers with the state-owned ENTV.

Messahel reportedly said that the offshore channels would be able to broadcast their programmes through the Algerian Television Broadcasting Company (TDA) after the new legislation comes into force, so long as the channels are "established under Algerian law".

Applicants must have Algerian nationality and must prove that their funding is "wholly Algerian", according to the draft legislation.

"We believe in complying with the law and will obey the decisions of the Algerian institutions," said Anis Rahmani, chief executive of Ennahar TV told He added that he was "not yet aware of what the specifications might contain".