Algerian TV presenter resigns

It was the straw that broke the camel’s back – since the start of the protests, we have not been allowed to work” properly
A man shouts. Algerians in Toulouse gathered on the main square of Toulouse, the Capitole, to protest against the re-election bid of Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. He’s in power since 1999 and if elected, it will be his 5th presidential term. In Algeria, protests swelled since their beginning ten days ago. Opponents say he’s no longer fit to fit to lead, citing his poor health and what they call chronic corruption. Toulouse. France. March 3rd 2019. (Photo by Alain Pitton/NurPhoto)

An Algerian state television presenter resigned Monday because she was angry that she had to broadcast parts of a letter by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, one of her colleagues said.

Nadia Madassi, presenter of Canal Algerie’s evening programme for 15 years, on Sunday night read extracts from the letter, in which the president vowed his bid for a fifth term would be his last, due to widespread protests against his rule.

The presenter was “given President Bouteflika’s message at the last minute… (and) was left feeling uncomfortable”, said Madassi’s Canal Algerie colleague.

“It was the straw that broke the camel’s back – since the start of the protests, we have not been allowed to work” properly, said the colleague who spoke on condition of anonymity.

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The television station was not immediately available for comment on her resignation, which was widely reported in Algerian media.

Journalists working for state media had previously complained that their bosses have imposed a blackout on coverage of weeks of protests against Bouteflika’s decision to take part in April’s election.

The president suffered a stroke in 2013 and has rarely been seen in public since.

Tens of thousands took to the streets across the country on Friday.

The president’s letter saw him pledge to set up a “national conference” in the event that he wins a fifth term, paving the way for his departure before the end of that mandate.

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This apparent bid to placate protesters was received sceptically on Monday by Algerians, who promised further rallies against Bouteflika’s rule. 

Madassi has decided to drop her presenting role in favour of working in editorial, the colleague said.

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