Algeria accuses France of 'satanic' media campaign over wildfires coverage
Algeria’s government accused the French presidency and other officials of leading a campaign via state-run France 24 channel by focusing on the fires in certain parts of Algeria and not mentioning other states affected by the inferno.
The blazes ravaged Algeria’s northeast, killing at least 34 people, destroying homes, and reducing vast areas of forest to scorched wastelands.
In a statement published by the official APS news agency Thursday night, Algeria protested the alleged propaganda campaign.
It said French press were deliberately "spreading hatred" by ignoring the other 17 regions affected by the fires and only focusing on two states - Bejaia and Bouira, in the northern Kabylia region.
It claimed this served the movement Movement for the Self-Determination of Kabylie (MAK) "and other terrorist organisations that strive to take over a region they were kicked out of by residents who reject them".
"This special focus on a specific region serves satanic goals that have nothing to do with humanitarianism," the statement added.
The MAK is a Kabyle nationalist movement seeking self-autonomy and independence for the northeastern coastal region of Algeria. It is labelled as a terrorist group by Algiers.
Algiers has previously accused countries like Morocco, France and Israel of collaborating with the MAK.
"Relations with both North African frenemies have cast a shadow on Macron's diplomacy in the region."— The New Arab (@The_NewArab) October 30, 2022
Basma El Atti examines Emannuel Macron's tightrope act with Algeria and Morocco ⬇ https://t.co/vpVzcS2RF0
"France 24 and [French channel] TV5 Monde continue to spew their poison on Algeria," continued the government statement, noting that these channels "target Algeria without respecting the basic rules of professional ethics, through their total violation of media rules and regulations".
Algeria cancelled France 24’s licence to operate in the country in 2021, accusing it of hostility and spreading misinformation.
Tensions have once again been on the rise between Algiers and Paris, including after a verse about France was reinstated in the Algerian national anthem. The police killing of a French-Algerian teenager near Paris also worsened tensions.
The history of strained relations between the two countries dates back to 1830, when France colonised Algeria.
Algerian-French ties fell into crisis in late 2021 after controversial comments on Algerian history by French President Emmanuel Macron.
There was some reconciliation last summer when Macron visited Algeria, 60 years after the North African country won independence.