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» 22.02.2011 - New Morocco protests planned
» 20.02.2011 - Large peaceful protests in Morocco
» 06.02.2011 - Morocco protests planned for 20 February
» 05.08.2009 - IFJ condemns seizure of magazines in Morocco
» 22.04.2009 - Arabic network condemns sentencing of journalist

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Human rights | Media

Morocco bans Spanish newspaper

afrol News, 3 February - The Spanish daily 'El Mundo' has been banned in Morocco to to an article written by the famous journalist Ali Lmrabet. Mr Lmrabet earlier has seen his two Moroccan satirical newspapers banned by the government and has been banned from working as a journalist for ten years by a Rabat court.

The Moroccan Communications Ministry yesterday forbade distribution of 'El Mundo', saying it contained an article by Mr Lmrabet "who claims to be the newspaper's correspondent in Rabat." The Ministry added he was not formally accredited with the Rabat government as a correspondent.

The Spanish newspaper however holds that the Moroccan argumentation is not valid. 'El Mundo' said it had no obligation to register its correspondents with any ministry, in Morocco or elsewhere.

Mr Lmrabet told the Paris-based press freedom group Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) that the article which caused the ban said King Mohamed VI had restricted the movements of his own mother because she had taken a lover. It quoted a former Moroccan intelligence officer.

Mr Lmrabet called the ban on the news paper "grotesque" and said that "even the most repressive regimes that forbid local journalists from writing freely don't extend the ban to their articles published in other countries."

RSF today reacted strongly to new the Moroccan attack on Mr Lmrabet. The groups said it was "shocked" at the Moroccan government's ban on distribution 'El Mundo'. "The government will stop at nothing to shut Lmrabet up," the group said in a statement. "After jailing him, harassing him and forbidding him from working as a journalist, it now wants to dissuade the world's media from giving him a voice."

Without judging the content of the article, RSF called on the Moroccan authorities to stop banning 'El Mundo' or any other Spanish publication and to drop the April 2005 ban on Mr Lmrabet working as a journalist for 10 years.

Mr Lmrabet fell out with Moroccan authorities after becoming the Kingdom's most outspoken editor. An article on the King's properties brought him to jail and saw the banning and forced closure of his two satiric weeklies, 'Demain Magazine' and 'Douman'. It is considered taboo to write even slightly critical issues about the King in Morocco.

Mr Lmrabet in 2003 was convicted and sent to prison on charges of insulting Mohammed VI, "undermining the monarchy" and "threatening the integrity of the national territory" on the basis of several articles. After spending more than seven months in prison, he was pardoned by royal decree "on humanitarian reasons." His imprisonment had caused international outrage. Mr Lmrabet still lives in Morocco but authorities have done all in their power to hinder him from working as a journalist.

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