Blocked news websites in Algeria accessible again

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Several Algerian news outlets which had complained that their websites had been blocked were back online Thursday evening.

AFP was able to access the websites of Tariq News and Twala in the capital Algiers, after they had been blocked the previous day, amid rising concerns about press freedom in the North African country.

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But one site blocked on Wednesday, the Casbah Tribune – founded in 2017 by Khaled Drareni, who is serving a prison sentence for his coverage of protests last year – remained inaccessible without a VPN.

Maghreb Emergent and Radio M, two other outlets, were also available again on Thursday.

Prisoners’ rights group CNLD says around 90 activists, social media users and journalists are currently in custody in Algeria, where unprecedented protests last year forced longtime president Abdelaziz Bouteflika to resign.

Casbah Tribune founder Drareni, who is also a correspondent for French-language TV5 Monde and Reporters Without Borders (RSF), was sentenced to two years in jail in September, after being found guilty of “inciting an unarmed gathering” and “endangering national unity.”

Algeria ranks 146th in RSF’s 180-country World Press Freedom Index, down five places from a year ago and down 27 places from where it ranked five years ago.

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