Western Sahara News

Christian Science Monitor: Monarchy has almost full control on press in Morocco

Washington

– The famous Boston newspaper The Christian Science Monitor addresses, in a thorough investigation, the extent of censorship on Morocco where Monarchy has a complete control on press, reinforcing trend on self-censorship.

In this regard, the government in Morocco uses several ways “to stifle the press: harassment, arrest, fines, suspension and economic pressure from advertisers close to the monarchy,” according to this investigation funded by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

The daily underlines that Morocco “overhauled its speech and press laws, a move the country heralded as a major step toward a free press” with the intent of “decriminalizing all speech that does not incite violence.”

These restrictions do not “leave much room for critical coverage of the most influential issues in Morocco,” such as the popular protest led by movement known as Hirak, noted the investigation citing the report of the American NGO Human Rights Watch on the free speech in Morocco.

“As a consequence of these measures, the majority of journalists have taken to practicing self-censorship to avoid getting in trouble in the first place,” said Abdelmalek El Kadoussi, communication professor in Meknes. “The list of stories they steer clear from has grown in recent years,” he added.

–Discrediting reporters–

Christian Science Monitor notes that the brief honeymoon period between the Makhzen and the press, observed right after the reign of Mohamed VI did not last.

Reporters were quickly shut down as soon as they started “poking around the monarchy’s vast financial interests and exposing potential corruption or writing about the slow pace of change,” noted the newspaper.

 

SPS

 

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