Haifa Wehbe and Mohamed Ramadan stir up controversy in Algeria ... and President Tebboune is interfering
The Algerian President, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, ordered the government to introduce a legal text whereby the ministries of interior and culture would control the criteria for the recruitment of foreign artists, in order to preserve the country's cultural reference and financial resources.
This decision comes after a wave of controversy in Algeria, during the past week, due to the spread of news that a tourism agency decided to invite the Lebanese artist Haifa Wehbe, the Egyptian actor Mohamed Ramadan and other Arab artists to promote tourism in Algeria, in coordination with the Ministries of Culture and Tourism.
As a result, the Algerian Ministry of Culture and Arts quickly denied the news, and said in an official statement that the issue of bringing in Arab or foreign artists for this purpose is incorrect.
The statement added, "The priority for Algerian artists and creators is to encourage and promote national culture, local heritage and domestic tourism."
Local Algerian media reported that the Algerian fashion designer Mahasin Harzallah will organize, through her foundation, an international festival for heritage and tourism, bringing together a constellation of Arab artists, headed by Haifa Wehbe, Mohamed Ramadan, Menna Fadali, Dalia El-Beheiry, Ahmed Zahir, Rogina, Hani El-Beheiry and Rania Farid Shawky .
The news sparked a wave of controversy on social networking sites in Algeria.
The Algerian journalist specializing in artistic affairs, Sid Ahmed Fellahi, confirmed that the aim of these initiatives is to move the tourism sector and introduce the Algerian heritage.
Sayed Ahmed told "Sky News Arabia": "Algeria is still lagging behind in terms of tourism potential, with the exception of its natural landscapes, which is an insufficient element that should have taken care of the grassroots structures."
Algeria has always sent invitations to famous Arab singers, on top of them: Kazem El-Saher, Najwa Karam, Saber Al-Rubai and others, who have been repeatedly invited to perform major concerts in Algeria with huge sums paid from the state treasury, as those who reject these concerts say.
In 2017, the Algerian Ministry of Culture counted more than 165 different cultural festivals, most of them during the tenure of Khalida Toumi, the former Minister of the Sector (2012-2014), who is currently under temporary detention for judicial follow-up on charges related to mismanagement and squandering of public money.
On the other hand, Algerian artist Abdel Basset Bin Khalifa confirmed his support for the idea of organizing the issue of inviting foreign artists.
Abdel Basset said, "The priority should be for the Algerian artist, as the situation of most of them is described as difficult, especially in the musical field."
Bin Khalifa pointed out that the conditions that the country is currently going through at the economic level require the encouragement of the local artist, while giving the right to the foreign artist to attend equally, according to the adoption of the standard of professionalism.
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