New York - It seems that the media reform that Mustapha el Khalfi, Minister of Communication, intends to implement did not finish sparking debate and a flood of developments, some of which are at times conflicting.
New York – It seems that the media reform that Mustapha el Khalfi, Minister of Communication, intends to implement did not finish sparking debate and a flood of developments, some of which are at times conflicting.
This past Sunday, King Mohammed VI met with Abdelilah Benkirane, Prime Minister, Abdallah Baha, Minister of State, and Mustafa El Khalfi, Minister of Communications and government spokesman.
Different interpretations have been made about the rationale behind this meeting. According to Al Massae newspaper, in its Wednesday 25 April issue, King Mohammed VI expressed his remarks on the report Minister El Khalfi presented to the King in which he described the various stages that reform, known as Daftar Tahamoulat (terms of reference), had gone through before coming into life.
While the King was, in general, supportive of the media reform, he expressed some “simple observations” on the controversial terms of reference, added Al Masse report.
Meanwhile, according to the daily newspaper Assabah, the meeting occurred within the framework of the “arbitration prerogatives of the royal institution with the view to ensuring the respect of the constitution and the sound functioning of the constitutional institutions.”
Assabah also mentioned that the Moroccan monarch called on the government to “respect the linguistic, intellectual and cultural diversity that characterizes Moroccan society,” while urging the head of government to “avoid using religion in public or political debate.”
On the other hand, while mentioning the meeting between King Mohammed and the the three leading figures of the PJD-led government, the news website Lakome, inferred that, following his audience with the King, Abdelilah Benkirane is “ready to withdraw the controversial terms of reference,” adding that the Prime Minister intends to call an emergency meeting of the government to mitigate the repercussions of the announced media reform.
Nevertheless, a source well-acquainted with the media reform in Morocco told Morocco World News that the way the aforementioned newspapers reported on the royal meeting may create a media buzz in that it suggests that the King is, in fact, interfering in the work of the government or even asking the latter to forgo reforms, where in reality he supports the measures taken by the government.
“The King wants to inject a new blood in the veins of the Moroccan public channels and replace the current executives with new faces,” a Casablanca-based journalist told MWN.
He went on to say that the fact the “king makes some observations and asks the government to abide by the provisions of the new constitution does not mean that he intends to interfere in the work of the executive or that he wants to stall the reform process.”
The journalist, who asked to speak on conditions of anonymity, further added that Samira Sitail, current head of the Department of Information at 2M, who once vilified the PJD after the Casablanca bombing in May 2003, might be replaced by Toufik Debbab, former head of the News Department at the Medi1 radio. Before joining Medi1, Debbab, had previously worked in 2M TV. According to the same source, the government is believed to have the intention of replacing the controversial general director of 2M, Salim Sheikh, with a high-profile civil servant from one of the state-owned companies.
Reporting from Morocco by Larbi Arbaoui
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