Friday, May 06, 2005

Algeria and Syria

The lively, even scurrilous, press scene in Algeria changed abruptly after the re-election of Abdelaziz Bouteflika as President on 8 Apr 2004.
The authorities no longer need to employ censorship. Newspapers, anxious to avoid harassing legal proceedings, take care of it themselves.
(translated from Le Monde, 20/21 Apr 2005)

From an interview in Reason Magazine with Yassin al-Haj Saleh (via
The regime never allows us to criticize it in Lebanon or in any other place. It is far from being happy that Syrian intellectuals have a window through which they can express themselves, speak to their people, and address their country's problems. But the regime has only two options: either to arrest people and put them in jail, which would cause an outcry among intellectuals and journalists in the Arab world and Europe; or to tolerate its critics, many of whom are former political prisoners or well-known intellectuals. In addition, the regime has not been able for the last two years to exert credible pressure on Lebanese newspapers and magazines, where we can now express our opinions. The Internet has also helped Syrian activists and intellectuals to break out of the embrace of censorship.

The regime has already lost the moral and cultural battles. Its main weakness is on these fronts. Its tools for domestic violence and suppression are still intact, but it doesn't have the spirit to use them effectively as it did previously. I think the regime will continue to "allow" us to write in Lebanese press. The alternatives are becoming more and more unthinkable.


Blogger Joshua Landis said...

Dear DavidP,
This is a great Blog. Many thanks for reading, but especially for covering so many interesting topics. Best, Joshua

9:00 am, May 07, 2005  
Blogger DavidP said...

Thank you for those kind comments. We obviously have a small but select readership.

5:32 pm, May 07, 2005  

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