Morocco’s press law continues to restrict freedom of expression and publication, noting that freedoms and rights are enshrined in the constitution and in legislation but are in fact unsafe, remain subject to constant violations, and sometimes guaranteed by the constitution and law, but vaguely, Making them more restrictive by tightening administrative and judicial control over them.
The Report on the Legal Framework on Freedom of Expression in Morocco, issued by the Adala Association for the Right to a Fair Trial and Eriks Europe, said that the new press law feeds “the idea of a threshold for freedom that the public authorities are still unwilling to overcome … And that any significant change has not been accompanied by many important indicators of freedom of information, and it also reveals a deceptive system of non-criminalization. ”
The report pointed out that “the criminal offenses introduced in 2016 were written literally in the new press law, and no judicial or administrative barriers have been put in place to limit the possibility of criminal law being used to punish a press misdemeanor.”
“The new penal code is a brake on the development of freedom of expression on the Internet,” the document said, citing the recommendation of the UN Human Rights Committee that “citizens, bloggers and other influencers benefit from the same legal protection as journalists,” adding that ” In Morocco, where many journalists oppose it because non-media professionals do not know or dislike the ethics of the profession, “the report said.
“We note that the abuses of the administrative authorities are based on breaking the laws,” said Jamila Sayouri, president of the Adalah Association for the Right to a Fair Trial, warning of incidents of arrests of journalists, harassment of human rights defenders and the prevention of associations. Of its meetings, such as the Moroccan Association for Human Rights and the Association of roots.
“Freedom of expression is a cornerstone of the democratic system, and freedom of the press in its relations with legislation and practice raises real problems,” she said.
“These freedoms and rights may be enshrined in the constitution and in legislation, but in fact they are not protected, they are constantly subject to violations, and sometimes they may be guaranteed by the constitution and the law, but vaguely or in a more restrictive way.”
“Despite the positives of the Press and Publication Law, it still contains a number of requirements that professionals and rights consider to be restricted to press freedom and publication.”
The report stressed that the compatibility of criminal law with the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights remains the beginning and the end of any series related to the liberalization of expression in Morocco, adding that “the various legislation on the media gives a certain level of protection to the beneficiaries without exception, Shall remain applicable to any form of literary, artistic and cultural expression “.