The Committee to Protect Journalists has joined the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies and three other human rights groups, in calling on the government of Morocco to stop its harassment of journalists and human rights defenders. The statement was delivered during the general debate at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on September 22 and published online today.
The statement highlights the cases of Samad Iach, a journalist and member of the Moroccan Association for Investigative Journalism, and Maati Monjib, a journalist and academic, who have both been prevented from travel and been questioned by the authorities in recent weeks. Iach faces charges of promoting foreign agendas and promoting social unrest. Monjib has been accused of spreading false news and working to undermine Morocco's image. The statement also highlights the case of Karima Nadir, vice-president of the Moroccan Association for Digital Rights, who faces charges of spreading false news in relation to a report prepared by human rights group Privacy International on surveillance in Morocco.
These restrictions come in the midst of a crackdown on journalists and civil society in Morocco. "Patterns of restrictions include ongoing banning of NGO activities, administrative impediment on the legal registration of NGOs, and a range of other rights violations," the statement reads.
CPJ has documented several criminal defamation cases that have been brought against journalists in Morocco this year, as well as the imprisonment of press freedom advocate Hicham Mansouri on what his lawyer described as trumped up charges.