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On Friday evening, after receiving an unexpected royal pardon, Driss Chahtan, the editor of the independent weekly Al-Michaal, was released from Oukacha Prison in Casablanca. However, his release is one of the few positive developments amid many alarming cases of worsening press conditions in Morocco.
Your Majesty: The Committee to Protect Journalists is disappointed by the government’s continued use of the courts to suppress freedom of expression, and it urges you to use your constitutional prerogatives to end the unjust imprisonment of our colleague Driss Chahtan. We also ask you to instruct authorities to end the practice of withholding accreditation from journalists working for critical foreign news outlets.
Two weeks ago, Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator, and I were in Morocco to hold meetings with government officials as well as journalists. In some ways the trip was a success, but in other ways it left much to be desired from a country that claims to be “at the forefront of…
Top Developments• Authorities censor, jail journalists to silence coverage of the royal family. • Politicized courts issue heavy defamation awards. Key Statistic 100,000: Copies of two weeklies destroyed by authorities because they carried a poll about the king. As King Mohammed VI marked his first decade on the Alawite throne, his government moved aggressively to censor coverage…
New York, October 16, 2009—The Committee to Protect Journalists strongly condemns the decision of a Rabat court Thursday to imprison the managing editor of Al-Michaal newspaper for one year.
New York, September 30, 2009—The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the closure of a Moroccan independent daily amid an escalating government campaign to silence critical journalists. On Tuesday, police prevented Taoufik Bouachrine, managing publisher and editor of the daily Akhbar al-Youm, and dozens of staff members from entering the offices of the Casablanca-based newspaper.
New York, June 15, 2009–The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned by defamation charges filed against a Moroccan editor by a group that represents close relatives of King Mohammed VI. A Casablanca court has summoned the editor to appear on Tuesday.