Saturday, July 11, 2009

Moroccan Press Protest with Blank Editorials.

Twenty Moroccan dailies and weeklies were released without editorial Friday in protest against the recent court decisions handed down against three Arabic newspapers and a monthly economic francophone magazine, convicted of defamation.

The daily Annahar El-Maghribiya, El-Jarida El-Oula, El-Mounaataf, Ettajdid, El-Ahdath El-Maghribiya, Akhbar El-Yaoum, El-Massae, Aujourd'hui le Maroc and Le Soir, and the weekly El-Ousbouâ, El-Ayam, El-Michaal, El-Hayat, Nichan, El Watan, Le Canard Libéré, Le Journal Hebdomadaire and Tel Quel came out on Friday without editorial.

The dailies will repeat the operation today.

Three Moroccan independent newspapers accused of “defamation” by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, were sentenced by a Moroccan court to pay three million Dirhams (270,000 Euros) in damages on 29 June

The three newspapers El-Jarida El-Oula, El-Ahdat El-Maghribia and El-Massae were prosecuted in separate folders for criticizing Muammar Gaddafi in press articles.

On 30 June, the monthly Business & Enterprise has been ordered to pay 5.9 million Dirhams (approx. 550,000 Euros) to a furniture company, Primarios, near the royal palace as part of a complaint for defamation.

The Moroccan Federation of Newspaper Publishers (FMEJ) Tuesday strongly denounced a “judicial blind escalation which does not serve the state of law.”

According to the FMEJ, “the importance of fines required clearly shows that the objective is the bankruptcy of these press companies.”

In a statement, the FMEJ said it strongly condemned this judicial blind escalation which does not serve the state of law and also denounces the existence of a repressive and criminal policy which violates the freedom of expression.”


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