Press Freedom in Morocco
A CPJ event co-hosted by the Congressional Caucus for Freedom of the Press
Washington, September 21, 2007--U.S. congressmen emphasized the need for an open and free press in Morocco at an event hosted today by the Committee to Protect Journalists. Diplomats from the Moroccan, Tunisian, and Algerian embassies were part of a large crowd that packed the room to capacity.
"International law clearly guarantees freedom of expression and the right to a free press, and we urge the restoration of these rights in Morocco," said a statement from Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus for Freedom of the Press and honorary chairs of today's event.
Aboubakr Jamai, the former publisher of the independent weekly Le Journal Hebdomadaire spoke passionately about the need for change in Morocco's press.
"Although there is a sincere commitment to social and economic development, there is no commitment from the regime to political liberalization and democracy," Jamai said. A frequent palace critic, Jamai was sued for defamation at home. He is now a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University.
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), who has many Moroccan-Americans in his Maryland district, also issued a statement in relation to the event. "The Moroccan media has earned a reputation as one of the liveliest in the Arab world," said the congressman. "However, there has been a disturbing trend over the past few years of the Moroccan government eroding the very same press freedoms that it has been touting."
To learn more about Aboubakr Jamai and the situation in Morocco: http://www.cpj.org/news/2007/mideast/morocco06apr07na.html