LE MONDE (France), EL ATWAN (Algeria), REPORTERS WITHOUT BORDERS (France)

Worldcrunch

Algeria marked the 50th anniversary of independence Thursday, an event with significance in both Algeria and France, its former colonial ruler.

As part of its coverage of the anniversary, French daily Le Monde published a commentary by Raphaëlle Branche, a historian at Université de Paris I: "During these celebrations, we mustn't ignore the difficult struggle that was involved in snatching liberty from the French colonial power, present on Algerian soil for more than 130 years. We must pay homage to those who lost their life for their homeland."

El Watan, the Algerian independent daily, examined young people and their response to the 50th anniversary . A young student, Anis Saïdoune tells El Watan: "History has been tailored by the government. Each young Algerian must do their own "private investigation" to understand our country's true history... It's depressing to see our country's history written by foreigners. It's absurd that we have to watch a documentary on (French-German cable network) Arte made by French or American people to even know our own history."

"We are independent, but not free," another young woman tells El Watan. "Fifty years later, where are women's rights?"

Reporters Without Borders published a report Tuesday on the state of Algeria's media freedom.

The report states: "It is not easy to be an independent journalist now in Algeria, a country marked by corruption and nepotism, a country where the military and the Intelligence and Security Department (DRS) occupy a privileged position."

Although life in Algeria is relatively less dangerous than during the civil war from 1991 to 2002, journalists still face financial, judicial or physical harassment from authorities and Islamist groups.

Drawing on a report commissioned by the United Nations, the study also concludes that despite Algeria having more than 80 newspapers, most are linked to businessmen with vested interests in support of the government and therefore no more than six of these newspapers are entirely free.

Although France was not officially invited to participate in the anniversary celebrations, French President François Hollande is set to visit Algeria in the coming weeks where he will no doubt address the shared history.

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