Moroccan PM's party sues journalist over Facebook post

Moroccan PM's party sues journalist Hanane Bakour over Facebook post
2 min read
31 October, 2021
Journalist Hanane Bakour was summoned by authorities over comments she made criticising the National Rally of Independence party.
Moroccan authorities summoned journalist Hanane Bakour on Thursday [Getty]

Moroccan authorities summoned journalist Hanane Bakour on Thursday after the National Rally of Independents (RNI) submitted a legal complaint against her, Bakour announced on her Facebook page.

The RNI, which Moroccan PM Aziz Akhannouch heads, sued Bakour for "defamation and insult" over a Facebook post she wrote last month.

"The RNI has chosen to make me to be the first citizen and the first woman journalist on its course of 're-educating  Moroccans'," said Bakour on Facebook on Thursday, referring to the remarks made by Akhannouch in December 2019, in which he said Moroccan citizens should be "re-educated", in a statement that raised controversy at the time.

Almost a month ago, Bakour questioned in a Facebook post: "How can the current president of the region of Guelmim-Oued Noun, M'Barka Bouaida, agree to vote during the regional council's presidency while her colleague Abdelouahab Belfkih, former PAM regional candidate in the council presidency election, was dying."

Belfkih was a candidate for the regional presidency elections, but on September 21 a bullet from a hunting rifle ended his life at home on September, 21.  The case was closed as a "suicide".

The death occurred during on the day of the vote; however the candidates decided to not postpone the polls.

Bakour, the editor in chief of Al Yawm24, a Moroccan newspaper established by Taoufiq Bouachrin who was sentenced to jail in 2018 on rape charges he says are politically motivated, stressed her right to free expression as she showed her readiness to face the ruling majority’s party at the court.

"I expressed positions that do not affect any party or person, neither by insult nor defamation," she said. "No one has the right to deny us the right to speak out under any pretext whatsoever. I will defend her right to speak and express herself."