Rabat - Morocco’s Ministry of Culture and Communication has rejected the latest report from Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on press freedom in Morocco, claiming it is “biased” and “inaccurate.”
Rabat – Morocco’s Ministry of Culture and Communication has rejected the latest report from Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on press freedom in Morocco, claiming it is “biased” and “inaccurate.”
The 2018 Annual Freedom of the Press report published in April ranks Morocco 135th in the world for press freedom, citing alleged “strong judicial pressure on journalists.”
Contesting RSF’s report, the ministry wrote, in a statement quoted by Maghreb Arab Press (MAP), that the document is “biased, inaccurate and does not take account, in an objective and impartial way of the many positive indicators of the climate of openness and freedom” in Morocco.
The report claims that Moroccan authorities deterred the work of domestic and foreign journalists who were attempting to cover Hirak Rif, a protest movement that erupted in the Al Hoceima Province in 2016 and 2017 after the death of a local fishmonger, Mohcine Fikri.
Condemning the accusations as false and baseless, the ministry said the Moroccan press carries out its work in “an atmosphere of freedom and independence, without any direct or indirect censorship.”
The ministry further said that authorities have never influenced or prohibited any news source from practicing journalism and that no TV channel or radio station was banned from covering the events in the Al Hoceima region.
In response to the RSF’s claims that authorities hindered the work of foreign reporters, the ministry said that several special envoys carried out hundreds of media missions,“ freely and independently, in all Moroccan regions including in the Rif.”
The ministry said that it has also provided 951 authorizations to international reporters to cover the events in 2017, adding that it has granted accreditation cards to 97 correspondents from 21 countries working in Morocco for foreign media outlets.
Last year, the ministry also condemned RSF’s report.
In 2017, Morocco was ranked 133rd due to authorities’ use of political and economic pressure to deter local independent media from covering sensitive issues. The ministry called RSF’s reasoning behind its ranking “baseless and lacking credibility.”
The ministry also recalled licenses it provided for foreign press correspondents in Morocco to carry out their work without restrictions.