Morocco: Shutting down Al Jazeera?

After a clash between protestors and police in Sidi Ifni lead to injuries and possible deaths, Al Jazeera issued a report at a news conference held by the Moroccan Human Rights Centre that several protestors had been killed. The Moroccan authorities, angered by the report, charged Al Jazeera's Rabat bureau chief with publishing false information on June 13.

Unfortunately, few news sources and few bloggers have spoken up about the issue. Notably, North Africa Notes, an expatriate blogger based in Morocco, had this to say:

I think it represents a larger issue than just being able to “say what you want to say,” and goes towards the ability of the average Moroccan to honestly evaluate their life and their government, and ask questions about accountability.

And ofcourse, Al-Jazeera is an easy scapegoat. They are the news agency every country who is doing things they would rather not want us to know about villifies.

Keep Hope Alive

Christine Benlafqih of was displeased:

Perhaps all of this wouldn’t seem so spectacular except for the fact that last month, the Moroccan government blocked Al Jazeera from continuing its daily news broadcasts on the Maghreb countries. The program had been airing for well over a year, and the withdrawal of its broadcast frequency over “technical and legal problems” was unexpected and without clear explanation.

No wonder Reporters Without Borders jumped in last month to say something about it. Perhaps they’ll speak up again.


  • samira

    to mehdi oumeh no say press enjoy a great deal of freedom in morocco!!why is there at least 28 jornalist in prisons? at least 3 indenpendent newspapers beig forced to shut down? we wouldn t even be able to have this simple debate if we were living in morocco!!and latifa s comment alone would have put her life in danger..what freedom of press? thankyou.

  • David James Vickery

    One of my problems is that I tend to speak my mind, especially since I lived for two years in the West Bank city of Nablus (hotbed of “terrorism”, don’t you know?) I am very pro-Palestinian. What is the official Moroccan government stance on the Israel-Palestine struggle? What is Morocco’s relationship with Israel and the U.S.?

    I need to educate myself more before I think of moving to Morocco.

    Thanks to all, for your good advice!


  • samira

    to david james..morocco or should i say king and his coronnies have a long relations with isreal .that doen t mean moroccan public is agreeieng to what isreal is doing!! but we also have a large jewesh community living in morocco in peace and harmony it their country as much as it ours..when you mentiond nablus is a hotbed for terorism. do you meant isreali soldiers or palastinians children?thankyou…

  • David James Vickery

    Dear Samira,
    Israel tries to make the world believe that all Palestinians are “terrorists”. In my experience I found exactly the opposite to be true. The people of Nablus were very kind to me and the only fear I experienced was when the Israeli army invaded, which was often. I’m sure you remember the major invasion of April 2002 in all of the West Bank. I experienced it and it was a terrible time with weeks of curfew and very serious destruction in the downtown. Shooting and bombings at all times of the day or night. They shot out every shop window and even had to shoot the garbage cans! They ran a tank into the ATM of my bank. Can you imagine what this “terrorism” does to the minds of children?

    Believe me Samira, I know the difference between “freedom fighter” and “terrorist”, and the Arabs of Palestine are not the terrorists in that conflict.

    I also realize that all Jews are not responsible for the actions of the state of Israel. So we must resist racial hatred in general and know that all people are the children of God/Allah.

    Thanks for your comments,

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