A Letter from the Editors

A letter from the moderators, Hisham Khribchi and Jillian C. York.



Saturday, December 5th, 2009

Dear Reader,

Just a few months ago, Talk Morocco was merely a vague concept the two of us had tossed around. Though we are both dedicated writers and activists for free speech, we also both have full-time jobs and so at first found taking on such a project overwhelming at best, impossible at worst. Yet here we are.

So how did the idea first come about?

Our format was inspired in part by the Creative Syria forum which Jillian (a Syriaphile) discovered a couple of years ago and which deserves to be acknowledged for the role it has played in uniting Syrian bloggers. We can only hope Talk Morocco will do the same for the Blogoma (Moroccan blogosphere).

The prominence of new media has offered the Moroccan public new ways for expression that were unimaginable just decades ago, when under tight state control over mass media, the only outlets available to convey news and views were either official or partisan press. Although a new species of investigative print media appeared in the market in the past two decades, a wave of seizures and restrictions has limited Morocco’s once distinctively active independent press.

But in its wake came the Internet: In a relatively short amount of time, a lively Moroccan blogosphere has grown increasingly influential, circumventing an obsolescent system of censorship. Bloggers posting in Arabic, French, Spanish, Berber and English deal with different social, political, economic and religious issues that have marked the country’s recent history. In covering the Blogoma for Global Voices Online, we have noticed the rapid growth of this sphere of free speakers. At the same time, we saw a lack of interaction between groups of bloggers who aggregated in virtually separate realms according to their field of interest, location, language of expression, political or cultural background. Moreover, bloggers, the newcomers into the media landscape, seldom interact or share the same platform with professional journalists and authors who once exclusively dominated the space.

Our solution was Talk Morocco, aimed at bringing together these various groups around subjects of common interest. Talk Morocco will provide a platform for established and unknown bloggers, journalists and authors, Moroccans and non-Moroccans, English speakers and non-English speakers, to comment on subjects relating to Morocco and the diaspora.

We chose the first topic–that of free speech in Morocco–for a multitude of reasons, but most of all for how it represents our project on the whole. We, as bloggers and Moroccophiles, recognize the important role of the Blogoma, and believe that one key element of free speech comes from inclusiveness: of different opinions, different people, different voices. And since freedom of expression is, as we see it, a precondition to achieve all other forms of freedoms (thought, religion, association, academic and scientific freedoms), we thought it was appropriate to put forward this fundamental issue as an opening topic for discussion. Recent news coming out from Morocco has been (unfortunately) comforting us on our choice.

We hope that Talk Morocco will effectively connect the dots between different breeds of Moroccan bloggers and be a junction point where bloggers, journalists, and authors can come together and have enlightened and informed discussions on matters related to Morocco.


Jillian and Hisham.

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Posted on Saturday, December 5th, 2009

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3 comments on “A Letter from the Editors”

  1. Congratulations for starting this moroccan ‘talk adventure’ by knoking this admirable palace door.., the entrance is leading straight to the hall of politics techno trance dance club ”not for beginners” ! ironically but not maliciously, I see sober and modern design and graphics, I guess this new and chic sanctuary of ”talk a lot” people will definitely meet and why not fulfill the needs of our ”stylish” moroccan bloggers and some of their select club ”private members”… mixing politics and esthetics with this obsession of the intellectual wannabe new wave… ! sorry, I have nothing against you !

    but let me clarify the point, before this well promoted and elegant coming out … and hurry up to knock at the ”Master’s” doors, did you take the time to check the press in Morocco ? the recent history of this megamall… do you have an idea of how many newspapers we do have in this country, and how this quick progress ended up with an insane glory for poor and cheap press entrepreneurs ?

    some are stating here that this press should occupy and absorb the lack or absence of political opposition, I would invite them to show me one country after the bush cataclysm who still pretend to an effective and reliable political opposition ! we should take a closer look at the press evolution in all countries these years to understand that it’s growing and progressing in quality and efficiency everywhere, but not in Morocco, simply because the major press intellectuals were definitely fired by the entrepreneurship and the fast food press industry that is employing a bunch of ”political transfats”, dangerous and corrupted kids who finally found their way to a risky easy business, in a country where easy and instant success is a realistic option for many jackpot runners !

    by keeping all the power and the decisions, monarchy in morocco is in a good position to assume eternally all the mess, the casualities, the bankruptcy of the system, as well as the occurence and emergence of all types of dysfunctions including the ones affecting the press. saying so does not mean that I share the opinions of any supposed activist press, it means simply that monarchy is not the problem, but serious actor who can help to solve it… if certain conditions apply… !

  2. Jorge Gabriel Jimenez

    What a great Idea you had! I’m Gabriel, a Guatemaltheque (Guatemala, Central America) law student that started some time ago a blog with some friends called Guatecambia (http://guatecambia.com/). We also started with the idea to change Guatemala thru the freedom of speech. Now we have used our law knowledge to change some laws to really change Guatemala.

    Congratulations for your project. I wish you the best!

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