Morocco slams Reporters Without Borders’ unjustified attacks

Communication Department says Reporters Without Borders works to undermine national institutions through false and defamatory assertions.

RABAT - The Communication Department, under the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports released on Wednesday a statement on the “unjustified attacks” and “defamatory assertions” of Reporters Without Borders (RSF), who has just published a video containing serious untruths about the state of freedom of expression in Morocco.

In its document responding to RSF's allegations, the Communications Department said that the NGO "works to undermine national institutions through false and defamatory assertions."

“RSF erroneously mentions the cases of journalists on which Moroccan justice has finally ruled, in the context of fair trials that have led either to their conviction or to their release after receiving a Royal Grace,” said the Department.

It accused RSF of pretending to ignore that the quality of journalist does not confer any judicial immunity which would allow journalists to enjoy a special status placing them above the law, knowing that it is up to justice only to act on their grievances.

The Department said that RSF showed an inexcusable ignorance of the Moroccan institutional system, by designating the Moroccan secret service as being at the origin of the legal proceedings against the journalists.

“The organization also obscured the fact that Morocco equipped itself in 2011 with a constitutional tool which strengthens the independence of the judiciary, materialized by the organic laws relating to the Superior Council of the Judicial Power and the statute of the judiciary adopted in 2016 by Parliament after a participatory approach welcomed by the Venice Commission,” said the Department.

“The video published by RSF goes so far as to deny the alleged victims of sexual abuse their fundamental right to take legal action against their alleged attackers, by discrediting their complaints in violation of the principles and universal standards established in the matter,” it concluded.