Marked decline in Morocco freedoms: rights group

Morocco sees 'unprecedented regression' in freedoms: rights group
1 min read
The Moroccan Association of Human Rights has warned that authorities have stepped up arrests of journalists and activists, leading to a marked decline in freedom of expression.
Moroccan authorities have increasingly targeted protesters, activists, and journalists according to the new report [Getty]

Morocco saw an "unprecedented regression" in freedom of expression and the press in 2021, the kingdom's most prominent rights group warned on Thursday.

The North African country has stepped up arrests of journalists "in an atmosphere of repression and clampdown on media freedoms," the Moroccan Association of Human Rights (AMDH) said.

In its annual report, it said authorities had investigated or arrested 170 journalists, bloggers and activists across the country "due to their opinions".

It also tallied 140 demonstrations that were banned over the course of the year on the grounds of coronavirus restrictions.

The association urged authorities to "stop using common law cases to prosecute journalists because of their work".

Three Moroccan journalists known for their criticism of authorities - Soulaimane Raissouni, Omar Radi and Taoufik Bouachrine - have been issued prison sentences of five years or more since 2018 over indecent assault or rape charges, which they deny.

Moroccan authorities insist that the judiciary is independent and that the cases have nothing to do with the men's journalistic work.

Morocco ranks 136th out of 180 countries on the Press Freedom Index of campaign group Reporters Without Borders.