With these new amendments of the penal code, adopted Sunday in the Council of ministers chaired by President of the Republic Abdelmadjid Tebboune, Algeria, like several other countries, will have a clear legislation to fight against the dissemination of fake news and all forms of disinformation attempts likely to disturb the citizens’ lives, threatening the country’s security and stability, undermining public security and order and in some cases the State’s security and national unity.
Minister of Communication, Spokesman of the Government Ammar Belhimer affirmed, in previous statements to the press on the sidelines of his activities, that the fight against fake news requires “combining efforts of all people, notably technicians and jurists,” to adapt the laws to the technical and technological novelties.
He said that this phenomenon has grown “with the use of the web” by “some individuals” in order to “harm other peoples’ private lives.”
Justice Minister Belkacem Zeghmati underlined, during the presentation on Tuesday of the bill modifying and completing the order no 66-156 of 8 June 1966 on penal code before the relevant committee of the People’s National Assembly, that disseminating false news is a “phenomenon which has impressively spread recently following the great development of media and new technologies.”
He added that the authors of fake news “use social networks to spread terror and fear among citizens notably during crisis or exceptional situations,” citing, in this regard, the current health situation related to the spread of the new coronavirus which saw at the same time “an epidemic of false news,” he lamented.
The bill provides, in its section relating to the criminalization of disseminating false news undermining the public security and order, for the punishment of “whoever spreads deliberately false or calumnious news or information likely to undermine the public security and order given the terror they sow among citizens and insecurity climate that they create in society.”
This new provision incriminates acts that weren’t prevalent previously and will strengthen procedural and penal responses, according to jurists.