Around 3 a.m. on September 20, about 10 plainclothes police officers arrested French journalists Quentin Müller and Thérèse Di Campo in their hotel in Morocco’s largest city, Casablanca, and expelled them for their reporting on the rule of King Mohamed VI – a topic considered taboo in the country.
Müller, a staff reporter with the weekly French magazine Marianne, and Di Campo, a freelance photojournalist, had arrived in Morocco on September 15, a week after an earthquake killed at least 3,000 people. Moroccan authorities have been widely criticized for their slow response to the disaster.
Marianne said in a statement that the expulsion of the two journalists was politically motivated, and in response to the magazine’s February 16 issue on worsening tensions between France and Morocco.
Morocco recalled its ambassador to France in February, without sending a replacement, and Moroccan authorities denied media reports in 2021 that its intelligence service had a list of potential Pegasus surveillance spyware targets that included French President Emmanuel Macron.
Morocco’s government spokesperson, Mustapha Baitas, said in a September 21 press briefing that the journalists were expelled because they did not seek media accreditation.
CPJ’s emails to Morocco’s Ministry of Interior for comment did not receive any response.
Three journalists were imprisoned in Morocco on December 1, 2022, when CPJ conducted its most recent annual prison census.