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Alert: Morocco – Freedom of expression restricted in Morocco

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Calls to the Morrocan government to end the politically motivated prosecutions of journalists.

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Islamic Human Rights Commission
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22 April 2010

Alert: Morocco – Freedom of expression restricted in Morocco

The Committee for the Protection of Journalists called the government to end the politically motivated prosecutions of journalists in Morocco.

The king of Morocco, Mohamed the sixth, ordered the authorities to stop accreditation of journalists who work for foreign dissident news outlets.

Driss Chahtan, editor of al-Michaal independent newspaper, has been imprisoned since September 2009 for publishing news on the king’s health. He was charged with publishing “counterfeit” news. Further, two defamation cases were filed against Chahtan by a group close to relatives of the king and a former official in the intelligence services.

Three other journalists working for foreign dissident outlets had their accreditation revoked, they were Mohamed al-Baqali and Anas Ben Saleh, from “Aljazeera”, and Mohamed Marouf, journalist for “al-Quds al-Arabi” newspaper, based in London.

Morocco is known for restricting freedoms of expression and press freedom. It does this by imprisoning journalists, withholding their accreditation and arbitrary closure and seizure of their assets. They also impose very high monetary penalties on journals which discuss sensitive issues such as Muammar al-Qaddafi’s record, the health of the king and cartoons of royal weddings. Currently there are more than 20 jail-term articles in the 2002 press law

This also raises concerns about the independence of the judiciary in Morocco especially in politically motivated cases.

The Committee for the Protection of Journalists called for the release of prisoners and to cease the process of criminalising and withholding accreditation from journalists working for critical media outlets. They also demanded that international standards for freedom of expression online, in print, and on the air should be maintained.

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For more information, please contact the office on the numbers or email below

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For more information, please contact the office on the numbers or email below.

"And what reason have you that you should not fight in the way of Allah and of the weak among the men and the women and the children, (of) those who say: Our Lord! Cause us to go forth from this town, whose people are oppressors, and give us from Thee a guardian and give us from Thee a helper."
Holy Qur'an: Chapter 4, Verse 75

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