Morocco - Media Landscape
|Suffrage||Universal; 18 yrs of age|
|Currency||Moroccan Dirham ( MAD)|
|Population (% under 14)||33.7 m (2007 est.) (31%)|
|Area||446. 550 sq km|
|Total imports (%EU)||€20 bn (2006) (53%)|
|Total exports (%EU)||€10 bn (2006) (74%)|
|GDP||€52 bn (2006)|
|GDP per capita||€1.708 (2006)|
|Internet users (per 1000 people)||33|
|Languages||Arabic (official), Berber Dialects, French|
Morocco boasts a media landscape that is pluralistic and dynamic.
A wide range of daily newspapers and independent audiovisual media exist to tackle issues considered taboo for a long time – issues like corruption and the stigma that surrounds homosexuality in the Arab world.
In March, 2005, the state began giving aid to all newspapers (estimated at about 5 million US dollars) that abide by conditions of the Ministry of Communication and the Moroccan Federation of Newspaper Editors. These conditions are as follows: Journalists are not allowed to undermine Islam, the monarchy or national territorial integrity. Journalists are not to disrupt public order.
Despite the fact that the 2002 Media Law reduced the penalty for journalists found guilty of defamation, there have been cases of imprisonment of journalists by the government. Changes are expected to be introduced in 2008.
A recent increase in the number of newspapers has also brought an infusion of a fresher and more modern outlook. An important development has been the creation of press companies that offer niche publications for women, men or youth.
A wide range of dailies are published in French and Arabic. More than 70 percent of the press in Morocco is privately owned.
Of the 618 registered publications, there are 26 daily newspapers, 254 monthly magazines, 136 weekly magazines, 78 semi-monthlies, 51 periodicals and 73 non-regular publications.
Some of the major newspapers include: Le Matin, L’Economiste, L’Opinion, Aujourd’hui Le Marocand Bayane al-Yaoume. Le Matin is a publication that belongs to the Maroc Soir Group. The Bayane al- Yaoume is published by the Party of Progress and Socialism. Two new Arabic dailies, Al Massa, created in 2006, and Le Soir, created in 2008, are among the most popular newspapers in Morocco. The independent and rebelious French weekly magazines, Journal Hebdomadaire and Tel Quel have strong circulations. Based in the economic capital, Casablanca, the two magazines have circulations of more than 20,000 copies a week.
Although there has been a sharp rise in the number of publications in Morocco, readership remains low. Readership percentage stands at around less than 1 percent. Around 350.000 newspaper copies are sold per day, for a population of more than 30 million inhabitants.
The Maghreb Arab Press (MAP) is Morocco’s news agency, based in Rabat. Founded in 1959, MAP has international offices in cities such as Abidjan, Algiers, Bonn, Beirut, Cairo, Dakar, Geneva, Nouakchott, Paris and Tunis.
Television and radio stations in Morocco received a boost with the establishment of the High Authority of Audiovisual Communication. This decree opened up the market for independent broadcasters. The Authority is responsible for licensing television and radio stations.
The government owns the Société Nationale de Radiodiffusion et de Télévision and holds about 80 percent of the shares of Casablanca-based 2M Television. Medi 1, based in Tangier, is privately-held and independent.
Many Moroccans own satellite dishes. Foreign TV stations are popular. There are three radio networks, operated by the Societe Nationale de Radiodiffusion et de Television, 2M and Medi1. Radio Atlantic, a thematic station created in 2007, broadcasts economic information (60 percent of its format) and general information (news, etc). It belongs to the French-language daily, L’Economiste.
Hit radio stations, Casa FM and Chada FM, are very popular and are well-known for their musical programmes and live chats
Since the introduction of the Internet in 1995, the number of Internet users in Morocco has increased to more than one million.
According to various reports, Moroccan Internet users enjoy a high degree of freedom. According to the Initiative for an Open Arab Internet, citizens are free to browse any sites they choose. Reports about the government blocking websites are few, even when these websites offer critical views regarding the Western Sahara. Morocco has been in a 26-year old conflict with the Polisario independence movement (backed by Algeria) over the territory of Western Sahara. Other cases involving government-blockage of websites are related to radical Islamist activities and terrorism.
In March 2008, blogger Fouad Mourtada was freed from jail, stirring headlines around the world. Fouad Mourtada is a computer engineer who was arrested for creating a Facebook account in the name of the Royal Prince.
The recent years have seen a rise in the number of blogs, many of them cause-oriented. Particularly popular is: Morocco: Seeing Stars in Marrakesh. This French-language blog focuses on arts and culture.
The mobile phone market is the rise in Morocco. Mobile Enterprise Media reports that by 2007, the Moroccan market had gained 5 million users, increasing from 12 million total users in 2006. The telecommunications industry offers some of the lowest prices making mobiles readily accessible.
Learning and support
Institut Supérieur de l’Information et de la Communication
This training institute provides entry-level education about the journalistic profession as well as additional skills for established journalists. The institute also specializes on online journalism, photo journalism, print writing and design, radio and television.
The main representative organisation for journalists is the Syndicat National de la Presse Marocaine, which is a member of the International Federation of Journalists. It was founded in 1963 with the aim of defending freedom of opinion and expression. Several human rights organisations, such as the Moroccan Association for Human Rights and the Moroccan Organisation of the Human Rights, also promote press freedom and freedom of opinion and expression. The OJD Maroc publishes circulation numbers for many Moroccan dailies, weeklies and other magazines.
Institut Supérieur de l’Information et de la Communication
B.P. 6205 Madinat Al Irfane
tel.: +212 377 733 40/55
Fax: +212 377 727 89
Site Web : http://www.isic.ac.ma