Washington - In reporting on Morocco, "objectivity" and “journalistic ethics” do not appear to concern most French journalists these days. Recent scandals in its coverage of the Maghreb, the once loved and revered French Media has shown a level of media bias and unethical behaviors that are more common in autocratic nations than in the land of 'liberté, égalité, fraternité'. Once respected and even feared, the French press is losing its moral high ground in the francophone world.
Washington – In reporting on Morocco, “objectivity” and “journalistic ethics” do not appear to concern most French journalists these days. Recent scandals in its coverage of the Maghreb, the once loved and revered French Media has shown a level of media bias and unethical behaviors that are more common in autocratic nations than in the land of ‘liberté, égalité, fraternité’. Once respected and even feared, the French press is losing its moral high ground in the francophone world.
While the French media has a long history of neglecting “good story” about Morocco, the French press coverage of Morocco in the last few months has been more biased, hypocrite, ignorant and unethical. France 3 and Le Monde, to mention few outlets, have shown a degree of arrogance and sense of cultural superiority never seen before.
The French media has been failing to provide sufficient coverage to some of France’s own social and political ailments. Instead, it has turned to its formers colonies to fish for “sensational” stories. This double standard might explain French public television recent «documentary » about Morocco.
The latest outrage was prompted by French veteran journalists Jean-Louis Perez’s “documentary” about King Mohammed VI’s fortune. The piece titled “Secret Reign” was aired on French public television channel France 3 on May 26 after much fanfare.
The “Secret Reign” went into specific details about the relationship between Morocco’s big corporations and the Royal holdings run by the King’s aids. This approach is revealing as it underlines some of the French elite’s sentiments about Morocco’s Royal system.
While some of the subjects discussed in this so-called documentary are concerns that Moroccans, their government should address, the demeaning manner by which France 3 approach these issues was unprofessional, unethical and one-sided.
There are Moroccans who agree with France 3 that the Kingdom needs immediate judicial and economic reforms. Well, France may need some of the same reforms given the high number of corruption cases brought against French politicians. Morocco has cases of torture in police stations, so do France, the USA and Sweden.
The chief complaint against France 3 is its biases in source selection. Perez, pseudo-expert on the Maghreb, picked and chose sources that will support his version of event, while ignoring stories that will present a contrasting view.
Notwithstanding Jack Lang’s, a Former French Minister, intervention defending Morocco, France 3 did not show any Moroccan minister or politician, form either the current or past governments, who may have given more centrist views of the current conditions. Consequently, the program did not present any counterbalance opinions that could have refuted some of French society’s perceived racial and social prejudices against Moroccans and their political system.
In fact, as some of the Moroccan guests who appeared on the program asserted after the airing of the show that Perez and his cameraman Chautard never revealed the nature of their project.
Despite all the media pomp, the so-called documentary was nothing but a collection of old videos, YouTube clips and interviews of known Moroccan exiled opponents whose views and stories were heard before. In summary, the “Secret Reign” did not show anything new.
In given a slanted account of Morocco’s current political and economic climates, France 3 has shown it agenda-driven editorial line and its neo-colonialist coverage of the Maghreb.
Looking at the stations choice of themes, pictures and videos, France 3 and its editorial board is saying believe that “these Arabs” still live in the Middle Ages ruled by medieval sovereigns.
The most startling feature about the “Secret Reign” is its omission of recent reforms in Morocco. In ignoring facts and trends that have in fact made Morocco more politically open, France 3 rendered its show irrelevant and unhelpful to the reform-seeking activists in the Kingdom.
Before the France 3 fiasco, veteran French journalist Eric Laurent and Catherine Graciet, were caught taking money from Moroccan officials in exchange of non-publishing a book critical of King Mohammed VI. They were charged with attempted extortion and are currently awaiting trial.
France 3 journalists know too well where to go to get voices that could have casted a different light on Perez version of the story. Instead they went with unbalanced account demonstrating once again that France still thinks that the Maghreb is a cultural and racial protectorate that needs a European guardianship.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy
© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed