Morocco bans saying “close friend of the king”


The Moroccan government withdrew its accreditation from Omar Brouksy, one of Agence France-Presse’s journalists in Rabat, on 4 October 2012. Issued by the communication ministry, this accreditation is what allows professional journalists to work in Morocco.

Why was it withdrawn? Because of an AFP report on partial elections in Tangiers that was headlined A crucial test for PJD leaves Moroccans indifferent The elections were organized after the Constitutional Council invalidated the previous elections in three Tangiers-Asilah seats and one Gueliz-Annakhil seat. The offending dispatch mentioned the PJD and the other parties participating in the elections, including the Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM) and its founder Fouad Ali El Himma, who was described as a friend of the king.

The government withdrew Brouksy’s accreditation on the same day as his dispatch. Brouksy learned of the decision from a dispatch published by the Moroccan press agency MAP. Headlined Government withdraws AFP journalist’s accreditation because of unprofessional dispatch, it quoted a government communiqué:

The AFP dispatch carried allegations implicating the monarchy in an election that took place in an atmosphere of transparency, thereby undermining the monarchy’s position of neutrality and its role as arbiter keeping a distance from all electoral competitions between political parties.

The story does not end there. The next day AFP news director Philippe Massonet voiced his support for Brouksy. An AFP dispatch headlined Moroccan authorities withdraw AFP reporter’s accreditation quoted Massonet as saying:

The offending report’s sole aim was to inform and put a situation in context, with no intention of causing prejudice to anyone at all. The AFP bureau in Rabat continued to enjoy the full confidence of the news agency’s management, Massonet added.

But Brouksy still has no accreditation.

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Dépêche AFP du 4 octobre 2012
In Tangiers, crucial test for PJD leaves Moroccans indifferent
A Tanger, un scrutin test pour le PJD laisse les Marocains indifférents
Dépêche AFP du 5 octobre
Morocco withdraws AFP journalist's press credentials
Les autorités marocaines retirent l'accréditation d'un journaliste de l'AFP