Shock horror! Algerian papers ape sensationalist British tabloids

Algerian newspaper content is becoming increasingly sensationalist. Though the excitable banner headlines would raise no eyebrows in the West, it is proving controversial – and also popular – in the north African country used to a sober, political press. Media Line reporter Rachelle Kliger reports that the newspapers have resorted to the ‘wow’ factor to sell more copies. They are said to be aping Britain’s “racy tabloids.” Some like the new approach, but many Algerians are too embarrassed to have the papers in their homes, according to the pan-Arab Al-Arabiyya. Omar Benderra, of the human rights group Algeria Watch, explains that by taking the sensationalist, commercial route papers “avoid sensitive issues that can lead to problems and they also make money in attracting readers… people love it.” Sensitive topics in this sense would include criticism of the real powers in Algeria, Benderra said. As long as the media steers clear of this, they can report whatever they like. In its 2009 index, Reporters Without Borders ranks Algeria in 141st place out of 175 countries.


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