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Algerian government pulls Arab 'Star Academy' off state TV network

UPI News Service, 02/09/2006 

The Arab version of "Pop Idol" has been judged too racy for Algerian TV.

The Lebanese-produced "Star Academy" -- modeled after Britain's "Pop Idol" and the U.S. version, "American Idol" -- was extremely popular among Algerians, particularly women, the BBC reported Thursday.

In announcing the show's blackout on Algerian TV, Islamist leader Aboudjerra Soltani called it a "provocation against society."

High Islamic Council President Cheikh Bouamrane said "Star Academy" is "far from artistic and goes against our society's moral standards."

Algerian Daily El Watan decried the cancellation as government censorship.

"Today, they ban television shows. Tomorrow they will brainwash the population, in the name of Islam," editor Omar Belhouchet wrote.

Algerians with satellite dishes will still be able to follow the competition via the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation, the BBC said.

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Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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