As a journalist who was embattled from both sides in Algeria’s civil war in the early 90s, Saihi struggled to continue her work despite continuous censorship from the government and threat from the fundamentalists.
“I know what awaits me in the end is a bullet in my head, but what kills me more is censorship when I am not allowed to produce or create,” Saihi said.
As a producer for ENTV, Saihi’s professional career was an anti-censorship journey. Her reports were mostly about politics, art, portraits of artists and women. Among the numerous important works that were censored, “Non a l’Intolerance’ (No to Intolerance) was one of them. It was produced in 1989 and was taken from the testimonies of victims of intolerance on the part of the Islamic Fundamentalists. These victims included students, farmers and intellectuals from different areas in Algeria.
After the democratic movement in 1989, she decided to do a series of program about TV censorship, hoping to report the history of censorship. This program, called “Kisset Kass”, lasted six months and was canceled abruptly. It was the first time that Algerian TV audience got to view the shameful practice of censorship.
At least a dozen of her programs such as “Zine El Bahdja”, “Ali Silem” and “Saha Pablo” were prohibited. Even with so much difficulty working as a journalist, Saihi was optimistic about her country.
“We are living in the most important period of independent Algeria- a period of change- where we are both actors and witnesses at the same time,” she said. “Professionally, it is an experience that deserved to be felt and understood from the inside- it is very rich in exceptional events and makes up the history of our people and our country.”
Horria Saihi is the first Courage in Journalism Award winner from Algeria, followed by Salima Tlemcani (2004).
- Courage in Journalism Awards Awardee, 1995