Algeria to open TV business to private investors

The Algerian parliament is to examine a new audiovisual media law that could open up the country’s TV industry to private investors by the end of this year, according to local press reports.

According to the APS news agency, the proposals envisage an opening of the TV industry to national commercial investors and a rebasing of national audiovisual media on public service principles.

The law would also establish a national regulatory agency composed of nine members named by the country’s president.

The law, if passed, will see an end to a 50-year state monopoly on TV. Algeria currently has five TV channels, seven national radio services and 48 local radio services, all state-controlled. A number of TV channels distributing their services to Algerians from outside the country have been tolerated over recent months by the government.

Communications minister Mohamed Saïd said that it was in Algeria’s interest to “progressively open the field” to commercial channels created by Algerians, in part as a way to deliver an alternative to viewing foreign channels that transmitted programming alien to the country’s way of life.