Home / Uncategorized / Moroccan media clampdown worries election observers

Moroccan media clampdown worries election observers

BBC Monitoring

Text of report by French news agency AFP

Rabat, 16 August: Foreign observers monitoring elections in Morocco next month expressed unease on Thursday [16 August] at court cases involving journalists, which they described as impinging press freedom.

"There have been notable challenges to press freedoms in advance of the elections," said Irish senator Frances Fitzgerald, leading the mission organized by US-based National Democratic Institute for International Affairs.

She noted the recent seizures of Moroccan weeklies TelQuel and Nichane as well as the forthcoming 24 August court case against the weeklies' director, Ahmed Benchemsi, for lack of respect for the king.

Fitzgerald also cited the suspended sentences handed down in January to the former director of Nichane and one of their journalists for a special issue published on jokes relating to religion, sex and politics.

In another case lodged in January against The Weekly Journal, the magazine was ordered to pay a 350,000-dollar (2! 60,000-euro) fine for libel regarding an article on Western Sahara.

"None of these cases directly concerned election coverage... [ellipsis as published] the changing press environment could have an effect on the broader political debate and thereby work against the broader, key goal of strengthening democratic processes and institutions," Fitzgerald said in a report made public on Thursday.

The institute which organized the observer mission is a non-governmental organization based in Washington and headed by former US secretary of state Madeline Albright.

Some 50 foreign observers will monitor the elections, only the second organized under the reign of Mohammed VI.

Source: AFP news agency, Paris, in French 1441 gmt 16 Aug 07


Check Also

The Use of Twitter by Saudi Sports Clubs to Increase Fan Interaction (Arabic)

Scroll down for Arabic abstract. This study seeks to determine how Saudi sports clubs can …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *