Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter March 7, 2011

Restrictions on the Press under King Mohammed VI and Morocco's Obligations under International and Domestic Laws on Freedom of Expression

Agatha Koprowski

Over the last eight years, there has been a sharp increase in government censorship and officially sponsored persecution of the Moroccan free press. The Moroccan press still enjoys greater freedoms now than under the late King Hassan II, thanks to the liberalization efforts he facilitated toward the end of his life, which were also continued in the early years of his son’s reign. However, the freedoms media activists worked so hard to obtain at the end of the last century have rapidly begun to erode, particularly after the 2003 terrorist attacks in Casablanca. Morocco remains an important Arab ally to both the United States and Europe, but the monarchy risks that relationship by tightening the reigns on speech and violating international human rights laws. Moreover, the monarchy puts itself at risk domestically every time it imprisons a journalist or imposes a bankrupting fine on a popular periodical, as Moroccan human rights groups grow less enchanted by their king. Over the last two years, criminal charges against the media have increased significantly, causing some publications to close and leaving a number of journalists in jail for their writings. In addition, since 2008, the Moroccan government has begun to censor the Internet, arresting bloggers and satirists and temporarily suspending access to popular websites, such as YouTube. This article explores Morocco's obligations under international and domestic law relating to freedom of expression and examines some recent court cases involving the Moroccan media.

Published Online: 2011-3-7

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