Akhbar Al Youm: Moulay Ishmail?

moulay Ismail

Morocco’s ministry of interior ordered the seizure and banning of independent Moroccan newspaper Akhbar Al Youm for three days in a row, 26-28 September, 2009. According to a ministerial communiqué, the banned paper published a caricature of Mouly Ismail, the cousin of Mohammed VI, as he was celebrating his wedding with as a backdrop a Moroccan flag centered by… a Star of David. Taoufik Bouachrine, the owner of the newspaper, inveighed against the government’s decision to ban the Monday and Tuesday prints of his newspaper since the controversial caricature was published over the weekend. He denied the caricature depicted a Star of David. The Wiccan star on the Moroccan flag lacks the criss-crossing pattern shown on the caricature of Akhbar Al Youm.

The government is charging the newspaper with disrespecting a member of the royal family and flagrant anti-Semitism. It confiscated the newspaper’s offices and publishing locales. In an unusual course of action by the royal family, Mouly Ismail decided to sue Akhbar Al Youm for defamation.

The Moroccan government has grown increasingly sensitive to the country’s independent media as they broached subjects considered verboten. Its judicial and political cannonade of independent journalists and artists, and the newspapers and magazines they work for belies its averment it advocates and protects freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Some observers pointed out that the government stands as the backstage instigator of the ad hominem bickering plaguing the independent media these days.

Knowing the story behind the rift between Bouachrine and Nini of Al Masae, the latter is going to have a field day with this one.

UPDATE: The $6,400 fine and four-year suspended jail sentence the chief editor of Akhbar Al Youm, Taoufiq Bouachrine, and cartoonist Khalid Gueddar received for “insulting the emblem of the kingdom” were upheld by the appeal court of Casablanca today, Tuesday 28 December, 2009.

A. T. B. Copyright © 2009

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13 Responses to Akhbar Al Youm: Moulay Ishmail?

  1. Hamid says:

    I fail to see the connection between the prince and the start of david. And it is a start of david no matter what the editor claims. I think this time I support the prince in his conflict with the paper. I however don’t agree with the ministry and the police invading and shutting the paper without a court order.

    • Kevin M says:

      I think the David star is meant to criticize the government of not taking a stand against Israel..
      Instead Morccan are perceiving Israeli interests is gowning in morocco.
      so Moroccan are feeling they have been exploited by Jewish people..

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  3. lehm Jilali says:

    I could be wrong but I think the caricature was refering to the prince’s wife jewish heritage.

    If that is the cas:
    – I totally disagree on banning the newspaper, this is against the basic rules of democracy.

    – I’d also disagree with the newspaper in getting into this kind of insinuations and racism-like penchants.

  4. brahim ben bouazza says:

    icompletely agree that the news paper has been banned because the role of media is not to go through diffation of respectful families who are devoting themselves working to develop democratic system in the country and installing human rights in progressing way taking into acount the level of devlopment of the state.our contry is taking a right highway and some people are cheking for trouble trying to be involved in problems to create a political and social crisis in order to poluate the image of the kingdom.
    To be specialised in journalism matters requires to be wise and intelligent and to have the respect for others becaues the day when his father and mother got married nobody wrote about them and diffamed them.It is a moral question more than political problem.
    To conclude,I can say that our monarchy had served the destiny of our country for more than thousand of years the blind people can see that ther is a general consent about that and and all efforts against that is waisting time.BE MORE POLITE AND MORE RESPCTFUL IN YOUR JOURNALISM IS GOOD ISSUE.

    • Kevin M says:

      This is a 21st century, no democratic country banned any news paper.

      Banning news papers,and arresting journalists is seen by developed countries as you don’t have freedom of expression. Therefore you country still live in dictatorship.

      If you want the press to be more polite and respectful, your government needs to work little harder to earn that respect.

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  7. mohammed says:

    i’m just glade that nobody is blaming algeria for that caricature .it strick me to see moroccan alwys balming the others for the problems that morcco is going through . i think it’s time to blame it all on the royal family they are the cause of all the problems . i’m a moroccan and i’m fedup with them . they are not doing anything to the people off morocco .people are really afraid of speaking .thanks to the news paper of for setting a precedent of this kind .

  8. Imad Mohamed says:

    Je ne suis pas surpris de la réaction du gouvernement Marocain.
    Le peuple Marocain devrait être en mesure de s’exprimer librement sans craindre aucunes représailles du gouvernement. Autrement dit c’est de la dictature plain.
    Apres les événements de Sidi Ifni, qui on précède les jugements des journalistes pour leurs commentaires, les marocain sont chagrine par les cauchemars de la politique de Basri qui rein toujours.
    De tout façon luter contre les journalistes locaux ne sert qu’à aggraver la perception internationale a l’égard d’un régime dictature.

  9. youssef says:

    did anyone get the N.A.Z.I salut, star of David knowing that the bride is German? Isn’t hat too much of anti Semitism to tolerate?

    The whole thing is designed to offend, because if not i don’t see any other meaning behind it.

    The ban and fine were justified and actually these guys got it easy.

  10. Abdul Said says:

    Muslims should not worry about this. Almost all Muslim countries have the same type of law regarding press freedom. You have to bear with it until the regimes change. By the way don’t be hoodwink by the hypocrisy of Western democracy!!

  11. Pingback: 2010 in review | A Moroccan About the world around him

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