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In a high-profile case that was criticized extensively by both local and western groups, Ali Mohaqiq Nasab, editor of the monthly women's rights magazine Haqooq-i-Zan, was ordered arrested by the high court for publishing articles deemed to be "anti-Islamic." Despite the fact that the government-appointed Media Commission cleared him of blasphemy charges, he was sentenced by the high court to two years' imprisonment in October and also faced the threat of a court-issued fatwa that could have increased his sentence.Nasab was released in December, but the case is considered to have had a chilling effect on press freedom, with an accompanying rise in self-censorship.Algerian courts are subject to government pressure when adjudicating cases of libel and related offenses.Free expression was dealt another blow in 2006 as a result of President Abdelaziz Bouteflikas plan for national reconciliation after the civil conflict of the 1990s.Back to Top Algeria Not Free LE: 22 PE: 23 EE: 17 Total Score: 62 According to Algerias constitution, press freedom is a guaranteed right, but this has not stopped authorities from using legal and extralegal methods to harass the independent press.The laws were amended in 2001 to criminalize defamation of the president, the parliament, the judiciary, and the military.Media diversity and freedom is markedly higher in Kabul, and some warlords display limited tolerance for independent media in the areas under their control.A number of journalists were threatened or harassed by government ministers, politicians, and others in positions of power as a result of their reporting.
Coverage by state-owned broadcasters had favored the incumbents in the run-up to July 2005 elections, and at least four cases of violence against journalists were reported that year, but the country largely avoided a repeat of such problems in 2006.
However, Berisha and Tirana Mayor Edi Rama, leader of the opposition Socialist Party, agreed in August to add two opposition appointees to the councils membership.
The plan came as part of a deal allowing municipal elections to proceed in early 2007.
In the country's underdeveloped economic environment, the majority of media outlets remain dependent on the state, political parties, or international donors for financial support.
However, in September 2004 the first independent radio station supported entirely by private sector funds was inaugurated in Ghazni province.
Article 34 of the new constitution, passed in January 2004, provides for freedom of the press and of expression.