When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Bouteflika's official Facebook page
Bouteflika's official Facebook page
Isabelle Mandraud

ALGIERS – Shaken by the strength of bloggers and Internet users opposed to a fourth term for outgoing Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the head of state’s campaign team didn’t wait long before equipping themselves with their own virtual communication tools.

The unprecedented online confrontation has put the Bouteflika’s supporters on the defensive. His team opened Facebook and Twitter accounts in the name of the president, created a YouTube channel to host videos of his campaign, and developed a web radio station to counter views on programs such as “Café presse présidentielle,” a talk show that brings journalists from several Algerian news sources together.

For weeks, they have been critically commenting about the April 17 presidential election from the kitchen of the facilities that host the “Maghreb Emergent” website. Meanwhile, Bouteflika’s web radio station is broadcasting slogans, songs and testimonies of supporters in a continuous, around-the-clock loop. The battle is raging.

Through social networks, the campaign has become more than just national. It is also reaching beyond borders, in part because Algerian authorities have made visas harder to obtain for foreign journalists.

Young people from parties close to Bouteflika have to resort to social media because it is the only way to keep alive the campaign of a candidate who is ubiquitous in pictures but otherwise absent from the public scene.

Silent thematic clips defending the record of the president, who has been in power since 1999, have been posted with text in French. “Water for all,” one of these short videos proclaims. “Drinkable water in Algeria has increased from 123 liters per day and per person in 2000 to 178 liters in 2014,” it says. Another video notes that “between 2000 and 2013, the total length of the national road network has increased from 104,324 to 118,734 kilometers.”

The video clip of a song performed by some 60 artists — a sort of Algerian “We Are The World” — including singer Cheb Khaled and humorist Smaïn, has traveled a chaotic path. It was uploaded March 30, then removed after a wave of hostile reactions, but has since reappeared online again. Internet users lashed out at the artists that they bluntly called “shameless,” leading some of those involved to provide embarrassed explanations in the press.

Although President Bouteflika’s name is not mentioned, the lyrics are unambiguous: “Let me sing … / Let me be proud of my president who took an oath and held the promise of millions of martyrs.” At the very end of the clip, a portrait of the president appears.

This was a reply to other artists on social networks, especially rappers, who have been vocal against the president’s re-election. The attacks are prolific and the comments scathing.

You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
Ideas

A Brief History Of Patriarchy — And How To Topple It

Many people assume the patriarchy has always been there, but how did it really originate? History shows us that there can be another way.

Women protest on International Women's Day in London in 2022

Ruth Mace*

The patriarchy, having been somewhat in retreat in parts of the world, is back in our faces. In Afghanistan, the Taliban once again prowl the streets more concerned with keeping women at home and in strict dress code than with the impending collapse of the country into famine.

And on another continent, parts of the U.S. are legislating to ensure that women can no longer have a legal abortion. In both cases, lurking patriarchal beliefs were allowed to reemerge when political leadership failed. We have an eerie feeling of travelling back through time. But how long has patriarchy dominated our societies?

Keep reading...Show less

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in
Writing contest - My pandemic story
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS

Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

Watch VideoShow less
MOST READ