Reporters Without Borders condemns yesterday's decision by the Moroccan government to strip Agence France-Presse reporter Omar Brouksy of his press accreditation for allegedly writing "an unprofessional dispatch about the partial legislative election in Tangiers."
Issued by the communication ministry, accreditation is needed by professional journalists in order to work in Morocco.
In its description of all the parties fielding candidates in the election, Brouksy's offending dispatch referred to Fouad Ali El Himma, founder of the Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM), as being "close to the king."
A Moroccan national, Brouksy told Reporters Without Borders he was the "victim of an act of persecution." He added: "A degree of contextualization is essential to understand these elections. In reality, the dispatch was very balanced. There is nothing in this description that justifies the withdrawal of accreditation."
Reporters Without Borders regards the decision, taken without reference to any court or independent body, as political and as a clear violation of the right of journalists to editorial independence. The communication ministry uses the granting and withdrawal of accreditation as a weapon against journalists, in order to force them to censor themselves.
"We call on the Moroccan authorities to rescind this arbitrary decision," Reporters Without Borders director-general Christophe Deloire said.
An AFP dispatch today quoted AFP news director Philippe Massonnet as saying its Rabat bureau had "the agency's full confidence."