Morocco is often touted as one of the freest of the world's majority-Muslim countries. Women enjoy nearly equal rights to men, the press is comparatively liberal, few websites are banned, and now, bloggers are free to write about what the press cannot, according to a recent article published by Agence France-Presse (AFP) which claims that the Moroccan blogoma is the “liveliest free-speech zone in largely conservative Muslim North Africa.”
The View From Fez was the first to link to the article, pointing out:
The View From Fez is one of the few successful blogs in English and is read by around a thousand people every day.
And to back up their claim, The View From Fez shares the results of the recent Morocco Blog Awards, in which they were voted the #2 Morocco blog.
Kelvy K. (It Belongs to Man to Err), an Indian blogger residing in Kuwait, said this of the article:
well since we Indians have all the freedom we want, we wont understand it when blogs and press freedom are not allowed. We will feel it is ridiculous when so many blogers end up in jail for many of their comments. Like for example, a Saudi bloger is in jail now for some blog article of his, similar cases have happened in Africa, Tunisia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Egypt, Algeria etc..
The Morocco Report also mentioned the article, saying:
As a Morocco-related blogger for the past two-odd years, I would have to agree with the article – Moroccan bloggers really do have significant freedom in what they choose to write about, as evidenced by some of the posts seen at maroc-blogs.com.
Needless to say, congratulations blogoma! May you continue to generate interesting, exciting, and thought-provoking posts, and may the freedom to express your ideas continue.
Incidentally, Everything Morocco also had something to say about being part of the blogoma:
I blog from home now, on a laptop with a DSL connection, in one of the oldest fully-functioning medieval cities in the world. As I sit here typing this, neighbor women are carrying their bread to the public oven and donkeys are hauling goods down the narrow streets of the city and tourists are picking over the displays of hand-crafted souvenirs in the souks. Satellite dishes dot the surrounding rooftops where many women still wash laundry and prepare spices by hand. You are just as likely to spot a sheep or a rooster on a roof as a cat or a swallow.
Time and technology seem to be always advancing, faster now than ever, but in a comforting way, the daily routines of life stay the same. That's especially true in Fez.
But while many advances are occurring in Morocco, both in the areas of technology and freedom, there's still a long way to go. Blogger MoTIC (fr) tracks injustices and censures in Morocco. Sami ben Gharbia of Global Voices Advocacy has also been covering censorship issues in Morocco.