The Ministry of Culture increased the financial aid allocated to the press sector after deeming the classic aid package “insufficient.”
Rabat – The Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Othman El Ferdaous, announced Friday an emergency plan to financially support Morocco’s print and electronic media with a budget of MAD 205 million ($21.22 million).
The ministry will grant the aid to Moroccan press companies to help them overcome the repercussions of the COVID-19 crisis and successfully relaunch their activities.
Speaking before the Commission of Education, Culture, and Communication at the House of Representatives on June 26, El Ferdaous said “the classic aid is insufficient,“ prompting his department to coordinate with the Ministry of Economy and Administration Reform to devise an emergency plan to come to the rescue of print and electronic media.
The minister said his department received 130 requests for support, 30 of which are from newly-founded media.
The emergency plan dedicated MAD 75 million ($7.77 million) to cover salary payments for the next three months (July, August, and September). Another MAD 75 million is dedicated to the payments of suppliers.
Printing houses that print more than 500,000 copies of newspapers will benefit from MAD 15 million ($1.55 million) in aid.
The national press distributor, Sapress, will also benefit from a direct aid of MAD 15 million ($1.55 million) in addition to a state recapitalization of up to MAD 10 million ($1.04 million).
A further MAD 15 million will go to the support of private radio stations. El Ferdaous said that radio stations have made “great efforts” to raise awareness among citizens during the health crisis.
Morocco’s print and electronic media have been struggling to cope with the repercussions of the COVID-19 outbreak, especially after three months of suspended activities.
On March 22, the ministry ordered all publishers of newspapers and magazines to halt the issuance, publication, and distribution of paper editions to comply with preventive health measures against the spread of the virus.
With the announcement of a nation-wide alleviation of lockdown measures, the Ministry of Culture Youth and Sports sent its directives to newspaper publishers to resume activities beginning in May 26.