Algeria daily slammed over edited picture of Great Mosque
A French-language newspaper in Algeria faced angry criticism on Monday for publishing a photo altered to remove the minaret of Algiers' Grand Mosque.
The photo in El Watan showed the funeral procession of former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who was buried on Sunday in a muted ceremony two years after he resigned in the face of mass protests.
But the image had been altered to remove the imposing image of the minaret of the Grand Mosque that towered in the background.
The move sparked angry comments on social media and from officials.
The ministry of communications denounced the newspaper branding the altered picture "a strange and unjustified" action on the part of El Watan.
The ministry of religious affairs said also denounced a "violation" and said El Watan should be taken to court and face "administrative measures".
The French-language newspaper apologised on its website saying the missing minaret was due to a "technical" fault.
"It has nothing to do with any ideological" move on the part of the newspaper, a statement said.
The president of the Islamist party Movement of Society and Peace (MSP), Abderrezak Makri, said on Facebook that the altered picture showed "hatred toward Muslim religious symbols".
Algeria's Grand Mosque is the world's third-biggest after those in Saudi Arabia's holy sites of Mecca and Medina.
Also Africa's largest mosque, it boasts the world's tallest minaret which stands 267 metres high (875 feet).
Known locally as the Djamaa El-Djazair, the modernist structure is a vanity project and a symbol of the megalomania of the late Bouteflika, that cost over $1 billion in public money and took seven years to be completed.
The first prayers took place there in October 2020, a year after Bouteflika quit office after the military abandoned him following weeks of street protests sparked by his bid to run for a fifth presidential term.
Bouteflika died on Friday aged 84.