The leader of PPS argued that the timing of the rift is concerning, suggesting that individuals from the Moroccan government coalition leaked articles from the bill to “settle accounts.”
Rabat – Leader of the Party of Progress and Socialism (PPS) Nabil Benabdellah has criticized the government coalition over controversial draft decree 20.22 on the use of social media, broadcast networks, and other similar means of communication.
The former Minister of Communication joined thousands of Moroccans who condemned the new bill, arguing that it breaches internet users’ rights to freedom of speech and expression.
Commenting on leaked provisions from the bill, the PPS leader said the leak was an “irresponsible act,” remarking particularly on the timing.
“If the government [coalition] has troubles, they should fix their problems in a responsible way and not during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis” which requires solidarity and mobilization, he said
The party leader said the leak was an attempt to “stoke the fire.”.
Benabdellah, whose party decided to withdraw from the coalition in October 2019, suggested that the rift between political parties forming the government is still ongoing.
“This is not the time for such a bill (…) if this is the final version of the bill, my party will strongly oppose” this law, he said.
He added that his party must spare no efforts in calling for a revision of the bill, which impinges individualism.
The former minister, however, reassured citizens that the bill was not fully adopted and that a ministerial committee is still working on it.
The Istiqlal (independence) Party also rejected the draft law, describing it a breach to freedom of expression.
On March 19, a government council took a preliminary vote to adopt the controversial bill.
The public did not know about the contents of the bill until the April 28 leaks.
Article 14 of the pending legislation stipulates that anyone who calls for a boycott against a specific product or service in public or through social networks, so undermining public order, will face prison sentences ranging between six months and three years, as well as fines of between MAD 5,000 and MAD 50,000 ($500 to $5,000).
Thousands of Moroccans, including public figures, who oppose the controversial bill signed a petition on Avaaz to condemn its contents.
More than 19, 431 people signed the petition at the time of writing.
The Avaaz petition reads: “We will not let Law 20.22 pass.”