Ahead of this week’s local elections, numerous provocative political posters have sparked controversy in Algieria, according to an independent French-language newspaper serving the region.
Featuring images of such former political figures as South African President Nelson Mandela and Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, the colorful, Arabic-language posters feature “populist slogans, Koranic verses, sports postures or flowers” according to El Watan’s headline.
The posters appear to be a backlash against previous elections, which El Watan characterized as having “faceless candidates.” The faces of Mandela, Gaddafi and others are superimposed on those of opposition candidates, apparently as negative attack ads.
Director Abdesselam Benzaoui of the Algerian School of Journalism and Information Sciences acknowledged that the ads had generated social media buzz, but questioned their quality.
“To talk about yourself and make the buzz is very good, but it does not last all the time,” Benzaoui said in a TV editorial quoted in El Watan. “If you have a bad image, we will not take you seriously. We'll talk about you, but it's going to have an immediate impact, because people understand in the long run that you're just a joker.”