Algeria | SAT-7
Algeria forms part of what is known as the Maghreb – the western region of North Africa. Over the centuries it has been ruled by the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, the Spanish, the Ottoman Empire and latterly the French. After more than a century of rule by France, Algeria gained independence in 1962.1 Today it is a country with approximately 35 million citizens.2
Algeria is a republic, with the incumbent president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, having been in office since 1999. In 2008 the President amended the constitution to remove the two-term limit on the presidency, effectively allowing him to remain head of state for life.3
In addition to poverty and unemployment, endemic government corruption and poor standards in public services are also chronic sources of popular dissatisfaction. According to UNESCO’s 2006 report on Literacy for Life, an average of 30.1% of Algeria’s population is illiterate. This percentage rises to almost 40% when looking at the figures for the female population only.
Surveys undertaken for SAT-7 in 2007 indicate that 1.8 million people had watched the channel in the previous 12 months.
99% of the population is Sunni Muslim, 1% is Christian or Jewish.4 Islam is the state religion, although the constitution provides for freedom of belief and practising one’s religion. Since 2006 citizens have been permitted to change their religion on their ID card. Conversion is not illegal under civil law, and apostasy is not a criminal offence. However, converts to Christianity from a Muslim background face harassment and discrimination.
1. CIA World Factbook | 2. Operation World | 3.BBC | 4. CIA World Factbook
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"I am touched by the sermons that I’m watching every Friday. I’m not able to go to church but God has opened a door for me to attend a church service in my house every week! I never thought that one day I would see bold Algerians worshipping the Lord and not afraid to be shown on TV."An Algerian viewer
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