Morocco: Media vs monarchy

Source: Al Jazeera.

Seven journalists were scheduled to go on trial in Morocco in the past week on charges ranging from “threatening state security” to “failing to report foreign financing”.

The issues of Western Sahara, terrorism-related investigations and the reputation of King Mohammed VI are seemingly top of the list of “grey area” material that can, and has, landed reporters in prison.

Five years ago, when the Arab Spring threatened to spread to Morocco, it was Mohammed VI who quelled the unrest by promising reforms and delivering a new constitution that guaranteed, among other things, freedom of expression.

However, with file upon file of cases against Moroccan-based journalists piling up in court, and with dozens more journalists either awaiting sentencing or currently in prison, it seems that little has actually changed in the country’s media landscape.

While Morocco has media laws that protect certain freedoms, the wording of the law is so vague, and the possible interpretations so broad, that any reporting that crosses the line by offending the king, his political officials, or any national security questions can land a journalist in trouble.

The Listening Post’s Flo Philips reports on on the red tape reporters have to deal with and the future of journalism in Morocco.

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