Algerian Government Jails Journalist for ‘Spreading Fake News’  

Algerian Government Jails Journalist for 'Spreading Fake News' (News Central TV)

An Algerian court has jailed 41-year-old journalist Belkacem Houam for “spreading false news” because of an article about dates allegedly tainted with banned pesticides, reported AFP.

Houam was arrested last month after reporting that 3,000 tonnes of Deglet Nour date that was exported to France had been sent back to Algeria because they contain harmful trace elements.

Houam, a journalist at Algeria’s most-read newspaper Echorouk, was handed Wednesday a year-long prison sentence and a fine of 100,000 dinars.

Algerian Government Jails Journalist for 'Spreading Fake News' (News Central TV)

Most of the sentence was suspended, but he will spend at least two months behind bars.

A similar claim was reported in March by Moroccan media, saying that Algerian dates are radioactive and contain bugs.

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Algeria, the third-largest producer of dates in the world, said the allegations were politically motivated.

The journalist had been charged with “illicit speculation” and “spreading false information… to provoke a disruption in the market and a sudden and unjustified increase in prices”.

Since September, his arrest has provoked widespread criticism online, with more than 100 journalists signing a petition demanding his release.

Human rights groups and activists say Algeria lives today in a “darker era” than that of the Bouteflika regime.


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