A few weeks ago, during the In Amenas hostages crisis, audiences of foreign TV channels witnessed something very rare. These channels showed images provided by an Algerian TV channel, Ennahar TV. The private Algerian TV was the only to provide images of the gas plant, the Algerian military forces, etc.
The foreign public may not realise it but this is quite new to us Algerians.
Two years ago, the Algerian government agreed to let Algerian private operators create their TV channels. And like with many topics, the minister’s statement hasn’t been followed by the legislation, and the few private TV channels we have still transmit from outside the country.
I have already written about the topic and asked our readers which kind of channels they wanted. You can see the readers’ answers here.
And today, almost two years later, I think it’s time to ask another question: Which private TV channel do you prefer?
Before giving my answer, I would like to share results of two surveys organized recently. The surveys provide information on all the channels available in Algeria, including the state-owned ones, the Arab ones (MBC, Dubai, etc.) and the French; but I’ll restrict it to the Algerian private TVs.
Media Market Research:
Ennahar TV with 4.5% followed by Echourouk TV (2.9%), El Djazairia TV (2.3%), El Magharibia (0.8%) and Numidia News (0.4%).
I couldn’t find the full results of this survey but this article says that Ennahar TV is the only private channel that made it to last December’s top 10.
I spend little time before TV in general and am therefore not aware of all these channels’ programs but this won’t prevent me from giving my non-informed opinion.
Dzair WebTV: This is a web TV which you can watch only on the internet. It concentrates on sports (football) but does show some videos on Algerian culture/society. These videos, which I watch when I have time, are not serious enough and do not aim at analysing anything. The fact this TV uses French as its first language makes me think its target audience is not in Algeria.
Hoggar TV: I must have watched a total of 10 minutes since its creation and I don’t know if it still exists. The few minutes I saw were boring with bad image quality and poor content.
Numidia News TV: This is the most recent among all. I watched some programs a few weeks ago but the content is poor as well and it doesn’t seem to have the necessary means for a “news TV”.
El Magharibia TV: Broadcasts from the UK. I heard people in Bejaia call it “la chaine ca va pas”, and it deserves this name as its sole objective is to show that nothing’s ok in the country. It is said the channel is owned by Abassi Madani’s son and financed by Qatar. I don’t know about this but there is no doubt it is close to Rachad… Boring to death if you ask me.
Al Djazairia TV: I believe this is the kind of TV channels the Algerian government may be comfortable with. A generalist TV with close to no links with politics (even though it had a good political show during last Ramadhan). I watched and liked a few episodes of two of its programs, El Fahres (with Amin Zaoui) dealing with literature and Ma3a Zahra (with Zahra Harkat) who interviews Algerian celebrities. There’s also a program dedicated to women. Besides Amin Zaoui and Zahra Harkat, the channel hired some other famous people: Hmida Ayachi, Djalal, Bahia Rachedi, etc.
Ennahar TV: It’s Ennahar newspaper with image and sound. Which means it concentrates on local news, just like the newspapers and opposed to what the state-owned TV channels do. So any murder, kidnapping, etc. stories are publicized. Last year’s kidnapping and murder of little girls Shaima and Soundous kept the channel busy for weeks. The channel had two “stars”: Habet Hannachi, left to Echourouk TV, who used to interview Algerian politicians (with an interesting interview of Khaled Nezzar) and the very famous Cheikh Chemseddine Bouroubi and his videos which make the buzz on social networks.
Echourouk TV: Very similar to Ennahar TV with one major difference: Echourouk TV shows cartoons, movies and series. Besides detective conan, I only happen to watch (Houna El Djazair), a daily talk-show presented by Leila Bouzidi (former ENTV, Khalifa TV, CNBC, Medi1TV and Al-Arabiya). This program is probably why I am going to say that I prefer Echourouk TV.
Before I let you cast your vote, I must mention something most of these channels have in common, which is also the biggest difference they have with state-owned TVs: street interviews where people are given the opportunity to speak of their issues.