Many Moroccans accused the government of implementing a new fee to save the television channel 2M from bankruptcy.
Rabat – Morocco’s Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani has denied that a new royalty fee was added to electricity bills to save television channel 2M from bankruptcy. Rumors surrounding the fee appeared recently on social media after many internet users noticed a fee for “supporting the audiovisual” media.
El Othmani made his statement on Sunday, December 22, during a meeting of Justice and Development Party (PJD) members from the Rabat-Sale-Kenitra region. The meeting took place at the party’s headquarters in Rabat.
The head of government said the rumors are “lies.” The fee in question is “old,” existing since 1996, and “80% of Moroccans” do not have to pay it.
دعم الإعلام السمعي البصري ضمن فواتير الكهرباء موجود منذ سنة 1996 وليس جديدا وعلى عكس مايروجه البعض فإن 80 ٪ من الأسر المغربية معفية منه منذ سنوات، ولا توجد أي نية أو نقاش داخل الحكومة لفرض أي رسم جديد .
ولايؤدي رسم 55 درهم إلا من يدخلون الشطر الرابع والخامس في استهلاك الكهرباء.
— رئيس الحكومة -المغرب (@ChefGov_ma) December 22, 2019
People in the poorest three scales of the government’s sliding scale electricity bill structure have not had to pay the fee to support audio-visual media since 2013 when the government exempted them, said El Othmani.
The fee “does not concern 80% of Moroccan families who live in precarity or the middle class. It only [applies to] subscribers who reached the fourth and fifth [sections of the sliding scale]. For them, supporting national audiovisual [companies] with 55 dirhams is nothing,” he continued.
El Othmani also explained that “2M does not benefit from this fee.” In a publicized video of the speech, El Othmani made no mention of what the fee actually supports.
At the end of his speech, El Othmani deplored that “some members” of the PJD “contributed to the spreading of the ‘fake news.’”
Earlier this month, many Moroccans shared photos of their electricity bills on social media, highlighting the “new” royalty fee. The users accused the government of implementing the fee to support 2M and save it from bankruptcy.
مكس إنعاش قطاع السمعي البصري هو في الحقيقة لانقاذ القناة الثانية 2M من الاغلاق باستنزاف جيوب المواطنين حيث يوجد على ذمة…
بعد حملات الشرسة التي اتفق عليها المواطنين المغاربة عامة بحذف هذه القناة الفاسدة ، و مقاطعة مشاهدة برامجها ، مؤخرا رأينا…
Rumors about the reason behind the fee began after 2M’s difficult financial situation became public. The channel closed its Tangier office for non-payment of rent and had some of their radio station material seized.
Advertisement revenue, which represents 90% of the channel’s income, has been in a steep decline in recent years, an employee at 2M told news outlet Le360.