- Of a total of 169 countries listed, Morocco has fallen down to number 131 when it comes to the freedom of the press and the freedom of expression. The annual ranking saw Morocco fall from rank 72 last year to be included into the worst-40 list.
The Paris-based group Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) takes note of the retraction of the freedoms of expression and of the press in the North African country in its annual ranking, released yesterday.
Most reports by international institutions are emphasising on the retractions registered in most fields currently in Morocco, and the latest report by RSF even ranks Morocco as number 131 out of 169 countries in the field of press freedom.
In the year 2002, Morocco was put on 72nd place, but this year, the country was only ranked 131 among the 169 countries on RSF's list. The first listed countries were Finland, Iceland, Netherlands and Norway (shared first rank) and the last one was North Korea.
On Morocco, the RSF ranking comments: "In Morocco, the hopes pinned on Mohammed VI when he became king in July 1999 have been dashed. Independent newspapers are still subject to constant harassment from the authorities." The retraction of rights in Morocco was specially mentioned in the RSF report.
Muas Gandi, one of the representatives of RSF here in Morocco, told ACN Press that "the classification of Morocco in the last RSF report is obvious. "There are several journalists in prison - for example Ali Mrabet - the authorities have closed several newspapers of the independent press and government lately has approved of a rigorous bill against the press."
- Unfortunately, the Moroccan journalist adds, "Morocco, which presents itself as a democratic country and wants to obtain privileged relations with the European Union, mistreats journalists on a daily basis."
As part of this, the law suits against journalists keep on being filed. The Rabat Appeals Court tomorrow is to oversee the judgement against Ali Mrabet for having published an article over the sale of one of King Mohammed VI's palaces.
The famous Moroccan editor currently is held at the prison in Salé, where he is to spend a three-year prison sentence for his work as a journalist. His two weekly publications, 'Demain Magazin' and 'Demain', were closed down by Moroccan authorities.
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