By Nidal Chebbak
By Nidal Chebbak
Morocco World News
Fez, January 8, 2012
Radouane Hafiani is one of the Moroccan journalists who has been dedicated to his work and awarded for it nationally and internationally. He is considered one of the founders of the Moroccan newspaper Assabah in which he worked for 11 years. On December 21 in the morning, Hafiani went to work after the annual holiday, he was denied entry to the headquarters of the newspaper with no notice or explanation. The day following his expulsion, Assabah also deleted Hafiani’s name from the editorial board list of the newspaper.
In an interview with Samir Bennis, Morocco World News’ editor-in-chief, Hafiani said that he did not receive any explanation about the decision of the administration of the institution for his expulsion. “I was banned from joining my work place in a very unacceptable and unjustified way, which is legally proven,” he said.
The reasons behind the decision are still unclear, but there are speculations that the expulsion of Hafiani was partially related to his public solidarity with the Moroccan journalist Rachid Nini, the imprisoned editor-in-chief of Al-Masae newspaper.
In this regard, Hafiani said that “all journalists know that Rachid Nini is a red line that shouldn’t be crossed at Assabah. Any talk about him in the editorial board can lead to trouble. I won’t say that my expulsion is only due to my solidarity with Rachid Nini, which I don’t regret because it’s my duty, but what I can confirm is that as long as I haven’t received anything that justifies the decision behind banning me from entering my workplace at Assabah newspaper, my activity at the Moroccan Journalists Union is in general the reason behind the adoption of such an arbitrary decision.”
Radouane Hafiani is the Secretary General of the Moroccan Journalist Union that has 13 branches all over Morocco. On National Media Day, the Union honored Rachid Nini through his family for his contributions, as well as for his struggle.
“Rachid Nini has spent more than nine months in prison during which he paid what he called ‘the tax for change’,” he said during that event. “I think in the National Media Day, it was the duty of the Union to shed light on Nini’s case and renew the call for his release, so we decided to honor him in the person of his family. In my opinion the message was clear and direct,” he added.
Hafiani is determined to make his case of arbitrary expulsion heard, as it was the result of an unfair and unjustified decision of Assabah newspaper. Regarding the procedures that he is taking to gain his rights back, he said: “at the beginning, we chose dialogue because we believe that the files of the conflict between journalists and press institutions should be resolved in a friendly manner, in accordance with what is stipulated in the basic law of the professional press and even in the Labor Code. Today, the Secretariat of the Moroccan Labor Union adopted the file and is in contact with the administration of Assabah newspaper to find a settlement.”
Both the Moroccan Journalists Union and the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) have issued separate statements in which they condemn “the arbitrary and degrading expulsion” of journalist Radoune Hafiani from his office on 21 December 2011. Though Hafiani’s case has raised many outraged commentaries and solidarity on social networks, mainstream newspapers and TV channels have remained almost silent vis-à-vis this decision of the Assabah newspaper towards one of its founding members and most renowned journalists.
Edited by Benjamin Villanti
© Morocco World News