ALGIERS, 24 February 2021 – Fresh out of prison, Algerian journalists Khaled Drareni has vowed to continue fighting for press freedom, describing it as “sacred, untouchable”.
Drareni was released from prison last February 19 thanks to a presidential pardon.
“I hope that my time in prison will contribute to strengthening press freedom in Algeria and making it a sacred, untouchable freedom,” Drareni told the French News Agency (AFP) in a telephone interview from the capital, Algiers.
Imprisonment at Kolea Prison transformed him into the symbol of press freedom and freedom of expression in Algeria.
“I am very well, in good health, happy to see my family again,” the 40-year-old journalist told AFP.
His reporting from Algeria in support of the “Hirak” protests aired on the two private television stations he worked for locally irked Algerian authorities who repeatedly accused him of being an organizer of the 2019 mass street protests.
His online activism during the “Hirak” won him fame as he shared photos and statements live from the protests on social media.
“Journalists don’t deserve to go to prison,” Drareni said in the interview.
Drareni works from Algiers for Reporters Sans Frontiers, the pro-free press organization based in Paris, France.
He also strings for TV5 Monde, as well as working for Cashah Tribune, the online news portal which he founded.