10 novembre 2009

Morocco: Press freedom under attack

Morocco has seen "a real degradation of the freedom of the press," according to the secretary general of Reporters sans Frontieres (RSF - Reporters without Borders) Jean-Francois Julliard.
In the last two years, journalists in Morocco witnessed a shift in the way the government deals with their articles. From economic pressure by requesting the companies to withdraw their advertisements in the newspapers considered as opposing the regime, the journalists are now fined with astronomical amounts, imprisoned, and their newspapers shut down with no legal basis. Some will argue that at least no torture against the journalists is being reported, to which others reply that imprisonment is torture.
The so called Makhzen, the structure underlying the power in Morocco coming down from the King to the simple public servant, is seemingly changing tactics: From attacking the media corporation directly and threatening whoever dares to stand against their interests, they are using the judges who for sure can't pronounce a judgment against the Makhzen's interests if they want to keep their jobs safe.
The core of the problem, as it is the case of all the dictatorial regimes, is the fact that there is a minority that controls all the power including the economy of the country and cannot stand to see not even a minor crack in the system they managed to build. One weakness this minority might have is the fact that the foreign democratic countries dealing financially with it, would exert from time to time to keep a facade of democracy so their public opinions will have a positive opinion. Another one is the fact that the Moroccans are more and more confronted with the realities of other nations, through satellite channels and Internet, and see what democracy and prosperity resemble.
Other nations were living under dictatorship (e.g.,Spain, Portugal...) and managed to put an end to it; it may take time or violent ways but a whole nation can not be enslaved for too long.

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