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Photo by RYAD KRAMDI/AFP via Getty Images.

A picture taken on March 6, 2020 shows Algerian protesters carrying journalist Khaled Drareni on their shoulders after he was briefly detained by security forces in the Algerian capital Algiers. - Drareni was arrested on March 7 while covering an anti-government protest, accused of "inciting an unarmed gathering and damaging national integrity".

Algerian Journalist Handed Three Year Sentence For Coverage of Political Protests

The Algerian government has convicted journalist Khaled Drareni for his reporting on the Hirak anti-government protest movement.

The Algerian judiciary has sentenced forty-year old journalist, Khaled Drareni, to three years in jail and fined him approximately 400 US Dollars for reporting on ongoing political protests since early 2019. This follows public dissatisfaction over President Abdelmadjid Tebboune's election in December.

READ: Deep Dive: Protest Movements Across the Continent

Drareni was arrested in March on charges of "inciting an unarmed gathering" and "endangering national unity" after covering demonstrations by the Hirak protest movement. Hirak protest movements are a pro-democracy call to end military rule which has been normalised by government since 1962. Algeria has been rocked by weekly protest actions demanding change in political regime since February 2019 and which was only halted by the coronavirus pandemic in March.

Upon hearing of Drareni's arrest, the US-based Committee for the Protection of Journalists demanded Algeria "immediately and unconditionally release journalist Khaled Drareni, especially as there is no evidence he did anything except his job as a journalist."

Drareni has denied the allegations of sowing "seeds of discord" and stated that as a news editor, he was only doing his duty as an independent journalist. Furthermore he covered pro-government movements as well. Algeria's judiciary did not take this statement in consideration and gave an absurd sentence that questions the democratic independence of the country.

Since taking office, President Tebboune has expressed militant intolerance of both political protest and Algerian journalists who report on the activities. Amnesty International has condemned protest action calling them a "ruthless" approach to peaceful activism and an encroachment on human rights. Algeria's response to political freedoms mark a shift to authoritarianism. In July, media correspondent Ali Djamel Toubal was sentenced to 15 months in prison for, among other things, broadcasting footage showing police officers mistreating anti-government demonstrators.

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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