Translated by Hisham Khribchi from Liberté d’expression offline et online : L’enjeu du maroc 2050 !
What will it take for a real freedom of the press to settle in Morocco? This is an intractable but compelling issue indeed, given the current worrying context. Violations of freedom of expression in the mainstream media and on the Internet have obviously taken a disturbing turn over the last two years.
It is true that Morocco has seen a widening of the scope of expression on print and on the Internet since the early 2000s. The stakes are nevertheless high. In light of the recent affairs that shook the media sphere in Morocco, one can wonder: Are these steps backward or only hurdles on the path?
The situation of freedoms in Morocco is similar to an eighth month pregnancy; a critical moment that involves high risk of miscarriage because of the lack of reforms and respect for freedoms.
My concern goes beyond to the actual space of “traditional” media: i.e., print, radio, TV…because I think we must preserve freedom of expression and “surfing” and publishing on the web to get rid of the label: “enemy country to the Internet.”
Beyond the mere reform of the press code, which is required, a predisposition of political actors at the highest level is needed to achieve transformation, with a democratic and constitutional approach, that would transcend the sense of sacredness [of the head of the state], to that of the rule of law. It is the only way for the kingdom to consolidate and boost its regional leadership.
Political reform must also be the end result of a concerted action, supported by civil society and actors of the ecosystems that are media and Internet. This action of pressure and advocacy must explore all legal means able to uphold the demands related to the preservation of freedom of expression online and offline.
Compared to many other Arab and Muslim countries, I think that Morocco has many assets to move forward in the dynamics of human, economic and political development. We must take advantage from our achievements to gain a place in the regional and international scene by 2050. An objective that can not be reached without freedom of press and free access to Internet: a freedom online and offline matching our ambitions.