One rapper and at least three bloggers known for their online activism and commitment to freedom of speech in Tunisia, have been detained by the police yesterday, January 6.
“As you prepare for the Forum for the Future in Marrakesh next week, we’d like to bring to your attention a sharp spike in government repression in the host country, Morocco. The Committee to Protect Journalists, has documented an aggressive crackdown on independent news outlets and journalists that has occurred over the last five months and has included judicial harassment, politicized prosecutions, obstruction, and censorship.” Open letter to Secretary Clinton, from the Committee to Protect Journalists, October 30.
Morocco will be hosting this week the ostentatiously dubbed, “Forum for the Future in the Broader Middle East.” A kind of Davos of the southern shore of the Mediterranean where ministers of foreign affairs, representing unelected, unpopular heads of states, will chat with the Americans, as good old friends about the future of a region stupendously strategic for the world.
Earlier, Clinton, in a clear departure from her previous administration’s stated policy, praised Israel for what she considered “unprecedented” concessions by the Israeli premiere. She just landed in Morocco, a country that I expect she will praise for “unprecedented” democratic achievements.
Two major international NGOs defending freedom of speech worldwide (RSF and CPJ), have, in an honorable move, sent an open letter to the U.S. Secretary of State urging her to put pressure on Moroccan authorities. But in a world of up-side-down logic and political intrigues, there is little hope Clinton would be bothering her Moroccan hosts. At least not so much as she has been “pressuring” her Israeli hosts on the settlement issue.
In the last 5 months, the Moroccan government has been waging a war against independent journalists, clamping down on what was once considered, the most vital, irreverent and challenging independent media in the region.
Bar(a)ka! (This must stop!) say Moroccan microbloggers who have been quick to react to their government’s repressive move.