National, regional, global TV in Algeria: University students and television audience after the 2012 Algerian media law

Viola Sarnelli, Hafssa Kobibi

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This article investigates new trends in the consumption of national and transnational television channels in Algeria, following the changes introduced by the 2012 media law. Research on this topic was conducted through a small-scale audience survey among university students in Mostaganem, West Algeria, at the beginning of 2015.
As other neighbouring countries, since the Eighties Algeria has been exposed to a rising amount of transnational television flows. After an initial French dominance, the last ten years saw a gradual growth in the Gulf channels’ penetration, while national television became increasingly neglected. This partially changed after the 2011 uprisings, as many Arab countries accelerated a process of media liberalisation. In Algeria, the media law approved in 2012 opened the door to the creation of private television channels. The article explores the choices made by young Algerians in terms of national and transnational television content, both for news and entertainment. Based on the results of our survey and on other historical and contextual data, we argue that a new national perspective on news and current affairs is emerging in the country, together with the success of non-Western productions for entertainment formats. In both these domains, students from different faculties and backgrounds showed similar preferences, going beyond the linguistic, cultural and social segmentation that characterised the Algerian audience since the emergence of satellite television.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-83
Number of pages29
JournalGlobal Media and Communication
Issue number1
Early online date14 Mar 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017

Bibliographical note

Acknowledgments: The authors would like to thank the colleagues Saida Kheira Benammar, who helped to set up the survey in Mostaganem, and Mohamed Chihat, who helped to contact and meet researchers in Algiers, for their generous and wholehearted support. Viola Sarnelli also wishes to thank Prof. Bel Abbes Neddar, who sponsored and supervised her post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Mostaganem, and his Magistere students, for their active participation in the Media and Cultural Studies seminars.


  • Algeria
  • Arab Uprisings
  • transnational television
  • news
  • entertainment
  • audience studies


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