As concerned Independent Moroccan journalists, we were shockingly amazed at the declaration of the procurator of the court of appeal in Rabat on September 24th, 2013, where he announced that the public prosecutor had appealed for an investigation on the editor of lakome website, on behalf of the investigating judge, for the following crimes: providing voluntary help to those who commit terrorist acts, providing tools to execute terrorist crimes, and the acclamation of terrorist acts.
We consider these allegations against our colleague Ali Anouzla scandalous by all standards. It is a full-fledged crime that the Moroccan government is committing in order to put an end to the free and independent press in Morocco, creating a manipulated media.
It is shameful and unprecedented to accuse a journalist who has done nothing but his job and duty of informing and presenting information. This tarnishes the reputation of Morocco. We, as journalists, consider these abstract allegations a dangerous threat to the free press in Morocco, which reminds us of the years of “lead”.
As professionals, we consider these serious allegations against Ali Anouzla irrational and not based on any basis. The article in question did not include, in any form, an expression or implication that the website or its editor have provided any support to those behind the publication of the video, which was released by the “al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb” organization. We also wonder how can a media means, purely used for its informative objective, how can it be a tool for carrying out a terrorist crime?!
We need to mention that neither Ali Anouzla, nor any other Moroccan journalist, has solicited terrorism before. We refer here to Anouzla’s previous anti terrorism articles.
The prosecution of a journalist under the law of terrorism is a shame for the Moroccan government, dissolving thus all the promises it gave in regards to freedom of press and expression. While journalists were striving for prosecution according to the publishing and press law instead of criminal law, they are now facing terrorism judge!! This is a serious detour, indicating that we are taking backward steps.
Additionally, we strongly resent the heinous position of the ministry of communications through its announcement that actually preceded the procurator’s proclamation, convicting the journalist before justice says its final word. The announcement claimed that the substance of the case is not the freedom of expression, but the incitement of terrorism and its publication.
We consider this statement a direct involvement in the case. It is also an obvious manipulation, challenging the claimed independence of justice, trying to give legitimacy to any possible verdicts against Anouzla.
We were also surprised by the confusion that characterized the ministry of communication clarifications regarding the 2009 Vienna declaration on terrorism, media and the law, presenting however misleading information. The declaration which was ironically used to justify the ministry’s procedures, clearly guarantees freedom in the media coverage of terrorism. Vienna conference also acknowledges the right of the public in obtaining information about terrorist acts or terrorist attempts, and media should not be punished because they presented that information.
We also condemn the shameful silence of the national press syndicate and its bias through its statement earlier, where it condemned the journalist and sided with the public prosecutor’s office, reminding the syndicate of its responsibilities as history will document its failure in defending the journalists, one of its main objectives. Instead, it overlooked the fact that the journalist is being prosecuted under the law of terrorism, choosing to settle accounts at a personal level with the journalist.
Consequently, we, the Independent Moroccan Journalists, declare the following:
We consider the allegations against Our colleague unreal and serious, and his prosecution is dangerous and a reason for concerns about the future of the freedom of press, of expression, and the human rights in Morocco.
We are worried about the fate of our colleague Ali Anouzla,who is prosecuted according to the law do terrorism, and we totally refuse all these allegations against him, which make a journalist who publishes news, a terrorist. An unprecedented occurrence, that didn’t even happen during the years of “lead”.
We consider Anouzla’s prosecution under the so called “law of terrorism ” a scandal that requires our efforts as journalists to stop this as it is dangerous and will affect the future of journalism in our country.
We denounce the heinous and serious campaign against journalist Anouzla, lead by political motivations and some “pay per view” journalists.
We renew our appeal for the immediate release of our colleague Ali Anouzla, and we warn from turning his case into a political one, promoting a fake patriotism as some political parties statements have claimed.
We call all journalists to participate in a sit-in organized by the national committee for Anouzla’s support, in front of the Parliament building Thursday, September 26th at 6:00 p.m. We also call them to join all forms of protests demanding the release of our colleague Ali Anouzla.
We hold the Moroccan government accountable for the physical and psychological safety of our colleague Ali Anouzla.
List of signatories:
Ranya Sossey Alaoui
Ali Hassan Dahbi
Younes Ait Yassine
Ghassan Wail El Karmouni
Amal Baba Ali
Wadiaa El Mouedden
Wissam El Bouhdaini
Mounia Kabiri Kettani
Hayat Kamal El Idrissi
Mohamed El Youbi
Mohamed Ahmed Odda
Rachid El Belghiti
Journalistes marocains à l’étranger :
Younes Aït Malek
Azzeddine El Hadef
Mohamed Mohammed Nabil Mouline
(Source / 28.09.2013)