first_img to go further February 5, 2005 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Pro-government press mounts campaign to smear journalist Ali Lmrabet June 8, 2021 Find out more News NSO Group hasn’t kept its promises on human rights, RSF and other NGOs say Receive email alerts Morocco / Western SaharaMiddle East – North Africa RSF_en RSF joins Middle East and North Africa coalition to combat digital surveillance News Hunger strike is last resort for some imprisoned Moroccan journalistscenter_img News Morocco / Western SaharaMiddle East – North Africa Help by sharing this information Follow the news on Morocco / Western Sahara News April 15, 2021 Find out more A campaign by at least a dozen pro-government news media in Morocco to disparage journalist Ali Lmrabet and accuse him of “treason” as regards its claim to Western Sahara is raising concerns for his safety, Reporters Without Borders warned today.The smear campaign is focussing on a report about Polisario Front prisoners of war which Lmrabet wrote for the Spanish daily El Mundo in November and an interview with Polisario leader Mohamed Abdelaziz that appeared in the Arabic-language weekly Al Moustakil in January.It has come just two weeks after the authorities blocked Lmrabet’s request for a permit to launch a new weekly newspaper.”Such a campaign has never been seen before in the Arabic- and French-language media,” Reporters Without Borders said. Moroccan readers and viewers are being presented with one statement after another by pro-Moroccan Sahrawi groups without ever getting the viewpoint of the person concerned.The press freedom organization added: “Lmrabet is being attacked just for doing his job as an investigative journalist and, apparently, for interviewing the Polisario chief. He did the interview and transcribed what he heard. Everyone should be free to express their viewpoint without having to fear being called a traitor.”Several human rights organizations from the southern provinces staged a sit-in outside parliament, the communication ministry and the Moroccan Human Rights Association (AMDH) in Rabat on 3 February to take issue with Lmrabet for saying the Sahrawi population in Tindouf (in Algeria) enjoys freedom of movement. The police did not stop the protest although they have violently dispersed anyone else trying to demonstrate outside parliament for the past five years.In the course of a week, at least 10 daily newspapers have used the headline “Ali Lmrabet’s treason” on their front page with his photo. Reports about the sit-in were carried by the 2M and RTM television stations. A total of 11 minutes of the evening news programmes on 3 February were given over to the sit-in.Moroccan Sahara association president Réda Taoujni, who did not take part in the sit-in, told Reporters Without Borders: “We are disgusted by this unseemly affaire. If they want to settle personal scores with Ali Lmrabet, they should leave Western Sahara out of it. Ali Lmrabet is a fervent defender of the principle that the Sahara is Moroccan.”The winner of the 2003 Reporters Without Borders – Fondation de France Prize, Lmrabet said: You will never find anything written by me expressing anything other than the view I have always defended, namely a Moroccan Sahara that is not attached to us by force or by money, but by human rights, solidarity, freedom and justice.”Lmrabet added: “I am for the self-determination referendum, the Baker Plan and, on principle, the inalienable right of people’s to determine their own fate. This entire operation against me has been mounted by the interior ministry in order to prevent me from relaunching my newspaper, to prevent me from expressing my views about everything to do with public life in my country.” April 28, 2021 Find out more Organisation last_img read more