Algerie Presse Service (APS) is no stranger to “fake news” controversies.
Rabat – The UN has rebutted false reports by Algeria’s state-run Algerie Presse Service (APS) that Morocco “failed” to become a member of the the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).
The strongly-worded denial inflicted yet another hit to the reputation of an official outlet increasingly known for trafficking in “fake news” on sensitive topics.
In its report, APS claimed that Morocco was in contention for a seat on the UNHRC for the 2021-2023 term that will start on January 1.
Elections took place on October 13, with APS falsely reporting that Rabat tried but failed to make the cut. According to the Algerian outlet, Morocco’s bid only received one vote—“Morocco’s own.”
The report then went on to describe Morocco’s “failure” as an indictment of its supposedly grim record on human rights, as well as the dearth of support from its African and international allies.
In its rebuttal of APS’ news, however, the UN revealed that only four African countries — Cote d’Ivoire, Gabon, Malawi, and Senegal — were in contention for UNHRC seats.
“Morocco was not one of the candidates,” Morocco’s state-run Maghreb Arab Press quoted the UN statement as saying. Of the contenders vying for a seat on the council — a list that did not include Morocco — only Saudi Arabia failed to secure enough votes. A total of 15 seats were open for the 16 candidates.
The UN also revealed that Morocco received one vote in the final count because one member state mistakenly cast its ballot for the North African country.
The mistaken vote is apparently the reason APS’s report jumped to the conclusion that Morocco was indeed a UNHRC seat contender but only succeeded in securing its own vote.
Meanwhile, the country that voted for Morocco may also have prematurely indicated its eagerness to see the North African kingdom on the council. Morocco has already announced its candidacy for the 2023-2025 term, with elections set to take place in 2022.
APS is no stranger to such controversies. Last month, the Geneva-based Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) denounced the “complete fabrication” by APS of a news report on another sensitive topic for Algiers.
The press service claimed that the UN Dispute Tribunal in Geneva had rejected a complaint from Algerian activists in a record time of 24 hours.
In response, OHCHR spokesperson Rupert Colville lashed out at APS’ “false information” in a fiery statement.
“The information contained in the article — which has been widely picked up by other media in Algeria and elsewhere — is a complete fabrication from start to finish,” he said.