Melon Farmers Original Version

Blogging in Morocco

Bloggers under duress in Morocco

9th March

Brave but Arrested...

Moroccan blogger arrested over petition against prosecutor

Moroccan blogger and anti-corruption journalist, Hassan Barhoum, who has been arrested since February 25th for exposing a corruption case involving the prosecutor-general for the king of Morocco.

Barhon circulated a petition calling Mohamed Masmouki, the prosecutor-general at Tetouan's court of appeals, a dangerous criminal undermining people's sacred beliefs and the state institutions. The petition, which has been signed by scores of journalists, bloggers and activists, called for the need to put Mohamed Masmouki on a popular trial.

According to the CPJ, blogger Hassan Barhon was charged under Article 263 of the penal code with defaming a member of the judicial body. If convicted, Hassan Barhon could face up to five years in prison: The Moroccan authorities must stop criminalizing freedom of expression and punishing critical bloggers and journalists [...] Morocco cannot pursue criminal proceedings for defamation, which is a civil matter, while at the same time claiming that the country continues to make progress in the field of press freedom.


13th December

Update: The Good News...

Nice n Naughty
Blogger arrested in Morocco after reporting clash between students and police

Moroccan blogger Bashir Hazem was arrested on December 8, 2009 after posting a press release about a clash between students and police on his blog. He has been interrogated about his blogging, specifically his most recent post, which contained the signatures of a committee of arrested students.

Hazem was detained and put in solitary confinement for a period of time, then rejoined the other detainees in the prison.

A Facebook group [ar] has been created to support blogger Bashir Hazem, who has been detained in Goulmim prison in the south of Morocco for publishing a statement about the intervention of the police force against an inhabitant of the Goulmim, on his blog Al Boushara ( the good news ).

According to the President of the Moroccan Bloggers Association, Internet cafes in the city are being monitored in order to prevent Internet users from disseminating information about the event, and to prevent riots. The authorities have also arrested others suspected of spreading news about the protests, including an Internet cafe employee, for possessing protest materials and flyers.

Hazem will face trial on Monday, December 14, 2009.


15th April

Offsite: Bloggers under Duress...

Formerly Jailed Moroccan Blogger Bashir Hazzam Tells His Story

On December 2, 2009, the peace was interrupted in a southern Morocco town by the clamors of local students protesting their difficult situation and lack of decent infrastructure.

The peaceful march was violently confronted by the authorities who proceeded to arrest a number of students. Later that day, an ad hoc committee was created to support the arrested protesters. It issued a statement calling for the immediate release of the students and condemned what it described as harsh and barbaric treatment by the authorities.

Bashir Hazzam, a blogger from the region published the statement along with links to a video taken at the scene.

A couple of days later, Bashir, and Abdullah Boukfou, the owner of the Internet caf้ frequented by the blogger, were arrested and accused of publishing false information harmful to the image of the country on human rights.

...Read the full article


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