Rabat – The Moroccan High Authority of Audiovisual Communication (HACA) has temporarily suspended the radio program “Dine Wa Dounia” aired on the Moroccan private radio channel Chada FM.
The Haca’s verdict came after a Moroccan cleric, Sheikh Abderahman Sekkach claimed last January that women who have extramarital sex would inevitably have “uterus cancer.”
The cleric argued that during her first sexual intercourse, the woman’s vagina inscribes the “code” of her husband’s sperm. Therefore, in case of extramarital relationships, this “code” would not be recognized, and the wife would inevitably contract a uterus cancer.
The cleric’s comments sparked arguments on social media. Moroccan sociologist and feminist activist Soumaya Naamane Guessous expressed her outrage in a long post published on her Facebook page in which she insisted on the “danger” of such remarks.
“These broadcasts are an insult to Moroccans intelligence and to their dignity. I am ashamed! They are dangerous because they dull listeners who number in the thousands and even millions,” she wrote.
In less than a week later, the radio channel claimed that the ongoing social media backlash, of which the cleric was subject, comes as part of “a media assault.”
“Some have used the statements of Mr. Sekkach wrongly and have made him say more than what they contain,” Chada FM said in a statement, adding that the only authority to monitor the content broadcast on the air is the HACA.
Following the ordinary session of the HACA on February 1, the body decided to suspend Chada FM, during the usual hour of the broadcast programming of “Din wa Dounia” for two weeks and order the company Chada Radio to take “the necessary arrangements for the implementation of this decision,” according to a statement released on Friday.
“Chada FM Radio has violated the legal and regulatory provisions in force, especially those relating to the dignity of women, the honesty of information, and broadcast,” the statement adds.
The HACA has warned Chada FM Radio about the program’s content on several occasions. The latest incident occurred in 2016, after Sekkach claimed that women “have no right to leave their homes, nor the right to work,” and that women’s main place remains at home.
“When a woman enjoys food, clothes, a house, and a husband, she must stay at home. Otherwise, she becomes a sinner before God. These sentences are not of my own invention, they are directly taken from the holy Qur’an,” Sekkach added.
Following these comments, the HACA issued a press release stating that Chada FM’s guest and broadcasters violated Articles 3 and 8 of Law 77.03 related to audiovisual communication, which state that Moroccan audiovisual communication is free, and the exercise of this freedom must be “applied with respect and human dignity … audiovisual communication operators must promote a culture of gender equality and combat all forms of discrimination, especially those that degrade the image of the woman.”