Algerians mourn loss of free satellite TV

by Andy Sennitt

Watching television is the most popular leisure activity for many Algerians, but the recently-activated encryption of the main digital packages has thrown them into a state of distress. It seems that from the cities to remote rural areas, everyone has a satellite dish.

On 21 January 2009, Algeria became the first country in North Africa to market the CANAL+ package of 25 channels via a pre-paid card. One month later, a new sports package offered French league Sunday evening football matches and the best games of the Champions League.

In a press release, the company said that as “the first legal satellite French television offer in Northern Africa, subscribers will not be subject to inconveniences such as programme interruption”. The service runs about 2,000 dinars (around 20 euros) per month.