Weeklies banning still sparks diverging responses
Morocco, Politics, 12/8/2000
The Moroccan government's decision last Saturday to ban the publishing and circulation of three weeklies, namely Le Journal, Assahifa and Demain, for having published or commented a dossier on the circumstances of the coup d'état of 1972, led by General Oufkir, and a letter by Fkih Basri, a leftist leader, sent in the early seventies to the late first secretary of the USFP, Abderrahim Bouabid and Abderrahmane Youssoufi, current USFP first secretary, showing they would have been involved in the coup attempt, is still sparking diverging responses from various sides.
In this context, the National Democrat Party (PND/opposition) wonders on the timing and goal of the letter publishing and on the side benefiting from its publishing. The PND pointed out in a communiqué that "this act is part of the past and can in no way compromise the democratic process initiated by the late King Hassan II and crowned by the institution of the alternation principle in the frame of consensus between all the political forces of the country.
The party's political bureau and consultative commission rejected at a meeting held last week "the anarchism and narrow politician calculations in the democratic process" and anything likely to harm the country's supreme interests, the communiqué said, adding the party calls on all political actors and components of the civil society to "cement ranks and consolidate the Kingdom's sacred institutions that guarantee the country's supreme interests... under the wise leadership of King Mohammed VI."
The communiqué by the Prime Minister announcing the ban last Saturday said the weeklies were banned for "having deliberately attacked Morocco's most sacred institutional foundations" and for their clear attempt to destabilize the country's institutions.
The leftist Organization for Democratic and Popular Action (OADP) called the government to reconsider the ban decision out of respect, it said in a statement, for the militancy history of the democratic Koutla (bloc), for the memory of its leaders, deceased or still alive, and in a bid to spare the country drifts and dangers.
The OADP described the ban measure as "a serious political mistake" that is unacceptable on the part of a government where three members of the Koutla are represented.
These parties are the socialist union of popular forces (USFP), the Istiqlal party (PI), and the party for progress and socialism (PPS) which form with the OADP the democratic Koutla.
"The juncture the country is going through, under the leadership of H.M the King, who evidenced a promising ambition to back change towards democracy and consecration of the rule of law.exacts from all democrats a minimum of maturity and serenity," said the statement.
In Algiers, the union of Algerian journalists (SNJ) condemned the ban measure and voiced opposition to any attempt to the freedom to inform. The union asked the Moroccan authorities to reconsider their decision and voiced "total backing and acting solidarity with Moroccan colleagues.
"The freedom of the press being an imperative for democracy and Maghreban unity, the SNJ calls journalists' trade unions and associations as well as all members of the Maghreban press family to show solidarity in defending our gains in matters of freedom of the press and of speech," the SNJ said in a statement published Thursday. (MAP)SL/
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