Mainstream Media Vs Social Media in Morocco: A War of Influence

In this piece the author explores the mounting influence of social media in Morocco.


Young Moroccan engineer and activist 7 comments

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

A question asked in the previous piece about Morocco was whether Moroccan would have been that skeptical to Feburary 20th movement if public media were really free? I humbly think not.

The development in Morocco after the successful marches all over the country support this claim: As to show some opening and calm protests, public media were open to some of the figures of the Feb20 video campaign whose interventions were quite surprising for the public opinion. In the same time this helped un-demonizing the protesters to the “average Joe” who relies only on MSM and still does not trust the Internet as an information source. This may be an explanation of the success of March 20th demonstration that were more rallying than the February 20th ones.

But yet the ‘Battle for public media’ has to be explained to have deeper view of the role of each kind of media:

The campaign for February 20th protests started on social media, after the success of Egyptian Revolution, many rallied the project and off-line meeting were organized in locals of Human Rights major NGO in Morocco (AMDH) and some political parties that provided help to the Youth Movement offered also their locals, mainly left-wing tolerated parties, as the only Islamist group that joined the movement does not have legal locals.

During the campaign, the youth movement did not beneficiate from television support, even Aljazeera was too focused on the Libyan tragedy and the Egyptian and Tunisian events and made very insignificant coverage for the Moroccan up-rising.

In the eve of the protests, more precisely in February 19th, a large call for canceling the Feb20 protests was spread through official state television and some independent Radios. Many people started believing this fake canceling, as the state media used one ex figures of the Feb20 to give credit to this call.

Activists started to deny this state-organized rumor using social networks and blogs. At mamfakinch for example, this communiqué discredits the major Press Agency in Morocco with Snapshoots proving that the Agency is aiming by its rumors to spread information that would let people really think the protests are cancelled and not to take to the streets the day after.

From this point of view, Feb20 was a good gauge for New Medias’ impact in Morocco : the Mamfakinch’s denial was read more than 15000 times [1] few hours after being posted, and similar denial were spread through social media, mainly facebook to let people know that there were no cancelling of the demonstrations as MSM claimed. On sunday, the number of participants was so important that orders were given to state televisions to cover the demonstrations.

During the weeks that followed Feb20, the regime understood that mainstream public media have to cover protests to avoid a massive move of audience to non controlled social medias; But as this coverage was still biased, and media kept spreading rumors to discreditate protests, major one was to claim that protests were organized by Al Adl Wal Ihssane, a major islamist group which is only a part of the movement and far from being majoritarian, classic Islamist scarecrow; Public media started to give Feb20’s figures opportunity to appear, but did some censorship on the interviews, and went even too far by making a tricky mounting of one Feb20 figures interview to made her appear as denouncing the presence of the Islamist Al Adl, what she did not.

Other desperate move from public media was in March 13th, when they claimed massive presence of Islamists to justify the violent repression in Casablanca. Again activists quickly denied it by providing instant photos and proofs against this version (

The development of this ‘arm wrestling’ between Feb20 youth in the Internet and the Public media is very interesting: protests gained public media workers ! Worker unions of the major public television 2M and the Maghreb Arab Press news agency called for demonstrations not only for their social rights, but also for more freedom in editorial lines in Public media, and bloggers supported them!

To learn more about Moroccan uprisings on social networks and internet portals for English readers:

– Mamfakinch: English section
Talk Morocco
Moroccans For Change

Some bloggers’ writings supporting mainstream media workers protests



[1] see article’s number of views on the top to the left in the link

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Posted on Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

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7 comments on “Mainstream Media Vs Social Media in Morocco: A War of Influence”

  1. Aw, this was an eхceptiοnally good ρoѕt.

    Findіng the time аnԁ actuаl effort to
    geneгate а goоd artiсle…
    but what can I ѕay… I pгocrаstinatе a lot
    and neνer managе to gеt anything done.

  2. Winning is not everything, but ωantіng to ωin is.

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