Media of Morocco
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The first newspaper to appear in Morocco was an English weekly called "Maghreb Al Aksa" in 1877. Such publications were not generally available in Moroccan cities until 1908. There was one newspaper before: El Eco de Tetuán 1860 in Spanish. It was founded by Pedro Antonio de Alarcón, Spanish writer and journalist.
Under the French protectorate from 1920, French titles such as "L’Echo du Maroc" and "la Vigie Marocaine" started to appear. They were followed by the launch of a press group called "Mas" which issued "Farmhouse" and the daily newspapers "Le petit marocain" and "L'Écho du Maroc", although these titles continued to cater mainly to foreigners.
Presently Moroccan nationalists such as Mohamed Al Ouazzani began to publish their own titles. In 1933 he founded "L'action du peuple", a weekly French language newspaper. Later, Abdekhalek Torres and Mohamed Bennouna issued two publications in Arabic in Tetouan "Al Salam" and "Al Hayat" respectively. These gave the nationalists a platform to advance their demands regarding independence from both France and Spain. More and more foreign press published in Morocco appeared.
Morocco issued a press code on 15 November 1958.
The government of Morocco owns many key media outlets, including Moroccan radio and television. Moroccans have access to approximately 2,000 domestic and foreign publications. The Moroccan press agency, Maghreb Arab Press, and one Arabic daily newspaper, Al-Anbaa, are official organs of the government. One additional Arabic daily newspaper, Assahra Al Maghribia, and one French-language daily newspaper, Le Matin, are semi-official organs of the government.
In the past the majority of Moroccan newspapers did not represent actual commercial ventures or profit-making corporations, since they were essentially the written public outlet of political parties. As such they were owned by political interests and survived on contributions and government subsidies. In the last 10 years an influx of new capital has led to the creation of newspapers and periodicals that aspire to become commercially profitable. The new publications are still heavily dependent on the government's budgetary allocations and that this reliance is inversely proportional to the professional autonomy of the younger generation of journalists.
ELECTRONIC NEWS MEDIA
The development of the Internet has brought a new dimension to news reporting in Morocco. Many of the major dailies and weeklies can now be accessed on their own Web sites. The landscape is changing almost as quickly as the Moroccan skyline. New publications such as Morocco Newsline Morocco Newsline. (www.morocconewsline.com), an online English language newspaper, are in line with the country efforts to attract English speaking tourists and investors. In 2007, Tourist arrivals from all countries of origin were up. The most significant increase comes from the UK, whose 344 000 visitors represents a 41% rise on 2005 figures.
Although journalists continue to practice self-censorship, opposition dailies have begun to explore social and political issues that have traditionally been considered out of bounds. There is a substantial and close military relationship with the US, and the media continue to exercise great caution when discussing government corruption, human rights and Morocco’s policy toward Western Sahara. Radio Méditerranée Internationale (Medi-1), a joint French/Moroccan broadcaster, also practices self-censorship.
According to the most recent available information, Morocco has 27 AM radio stations, 25 FM radio stations, 6 shortwave stations, and 11 television stations including all the channels of the public SNRT and the private 2M TV and Mèdi 1 TV.
On December 20, 2006, Moroccan Prime Minister Driss Jettou banned the Arabophone weekly magazine Nichane. This action was taken in retaliation for publishing "provocative jokes" related to religion. The website was also shut down.
Real progress at the start of King Mohammed’s reign has been followed by reverses and tension, especially from 2002 onwards, Reporters Without Borders said in an evaluation of the state of press freedom in Morocco on the eve of the 10th anniversary of Mohammed VI’s accession to the throne on 23 July 1999. The number of daily and weekly newspapers has grown dramatically since 1999 and several new radio and TV stations were given licenses when state control of broadcasting began to be relaxed in May 2006, offering Moroccans some diversity in this sector for the first time. Despite the impartiality of the High Council for Broadcasting (CSCA), there was widespread disappointment that no new TV stations and only four new radio stations (either regional or specialist ones) were awarded licences in a second wave in February of this year. There had been 23 applicants. Although Morocco now tolerates more media criticism and more editorial freedom, the Palace still does not accept that the media have an important role to play. It allows some leeway to print media journalists because only 1 per cent of the population buys newspapers and magazines. And only a few newspapers such as Tel Quel and Le Journal hebdomadaire are really independent. The media still has to face obstacles, archaic laws and arbitrary reactions. Policemen often assault reporters and photographers and confiscate their equipment. Twenty policemen raided the Arabic-language weekly Al Ayam on 10 February just because of a photo of a member of the royal family which it had requested permission to publish. Combined total of nearly 25 years in prison for journalists since 1999. Journalists can still be jailed under the Moroccan press code. The media were angered by the code’s latest revision, in May 2002, because the possibility of prison sentences was maintained even if the maximum terms were cut significantly (for example, from 20 to five years for attacks on the king’s honour). The most draconian article, 41, extended the defamation law’s applicability to Islam and Morocco’s territorial integrity, while the courts, in addition to the executive, were given the power to suspend or close newspapers. The latter provision would arguably have been a move in the right direction if it had not been for the fact that Morocco’s courts are not independent.
- Worldwide press freedom index 2008: Morocco ranks 122nd out of the 173 countries assessed. For reference, there were then 192 members of the UN, and there may be 8 other nations in the world, see List of sovereign states.
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Operators of the telecommunication
The public broadcaster SNRT currently runs nine television channels:
- Al Aoula (SNRT 1)
- Arryadia (SNRT 3)
- Arrabia (SNRT 4)
- Al Maghribia (SNRT 5)
- Assadissa (SNRT 6)
- Aflam TV (SNRT 7)
- Tamazight TV (SNRT 8)
Other state-owned channels:
All of the above channels can be seen nationwide on the analog terrestrial. Moroccans who have digital terrestrial television can also see a lot of Arabic and French private channels, like Nickelodeon, MTV, MBC or M6. They are freely accessible on the digital terrestrial.
- Hit Radio
- Radio 2M
- Medi 1
- Casa FM
- Chada FM
- Hit Radio
- Radio Aswat
- Radio Atlantic
- Radio Plus (Morocco)
- SNRT Chaine inter
- SNRT coranique
- SNRT arabic
- Moroccan News outlet in English
- Moroccan American News portal in English
- Reporters Without Borders
- Morocco and World News portal in English
- Source: Media and communication - Gov't of Morocco.
- (Chief Editor Karim Zouiyen) “Morocco Newsline”
- Text used in this cited section originally came from: Morocco profile from the Library of Congress Country Studies project.
- Moroccan Prime Minister bans weekly magazine “Nichane”[dead link]
- Advances and reverses for press freedom during King Mohammed’s first decade Reporters Without Borders, 22.07.2009
- This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Library of Congress Country Studies.