Morocco has gained two places, going from 135th to 133rd place in the annual ranking of the NGO Reporters Without Borders (RSF). Two places won, but still a long way to go for the country.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) released its 2019 press freedom rankings for 180 countries on Tuesday. If Morocco wins two places, it remains in the red zone, meaning that practicing the profession of journalist is considered difficult.
Indeed, the NGO points out that “the Moroccan media continue to be subject to judicial harassment”, recalling the trials of a number of media figures who have been hanging around for several years.
This is in addition to “the new prosecutions that have been initiated and the heavy sentences that have been imposed,” notes RSF, which also denounces the imprisonment of many journalists. RSF thus recalls the trial of journalist and activist Omar Radi sentenced to “four months suspended prison sentence, for a single tweet criticizing a court decision”.
The year 2019 was also marked by the arrest of several youtubers and citizen journalists in Morocco. And although the country set up the National Press Council (CNP), it “did not help make the environment for journalists and media more peaceful,” the NGO said.
A decisive decade
The situation in Morocco is symptomatic of that in Africa. The RSF 2020 index places 21 African countries in red or black, given that media professionals work “in difficult, even critical, conditions,” the NGO said.
“The next decade will be decisive for the future of journalism on the continent,” said RSF, but for the time being, “the environment for journalists has continued to deteriorate” in North Africa, the source said.
In Algeria, “journalists have been severely tested since the start of the wave of Hirak demonstrations in February 2019”. The country thus lost five places to find itself in 146th place. With two places less, Libya drops to 164th place, in a very tense context marked by violence against journalists, crimes that have gone unpunished in the past nine years, denounces RSF.
Only Tunisia is doing well and retains its 72nd place, although the situation of the media and journalists has worsened since the election of new President Kais Saied in October 2019, notes the same source.
At the head of the world ranking, Norway retains its first place, Finland and Denmark find themselves in second and third places respectively. South Korea remains in last place, while Eritrea and Turkmenistan are in 178th and 179th places respectively.