Journalists at risk of imprisonment in Morocco

On June 27, 2016, seven journalists in the Moroccan city of Rabat were facing trial over running smartphone apps to train people in relation to citizen journalism. StoryMaker is a secure storytelling app that was developed by the Guardian Project, Free Press Unlimited (FPU), and Small World News, enabling citizen journalists to publish content anonymously if they wish to.

Interim Deputy Director of the MENA Program at Amnesty International. Magdalena Mughrabi said, “The trial of these journalists is a worrying test case for press freedom in Morocco. The accusations that journalists and citizens reporting freely in their country are compromising state security, and the risk that they may be imprisoned, are deeply alarming.” It may well be a dangerous act against the freedom of press and journalism in Morocco.

Maati Monjib, a historian, including five other defendants have been accused of “threatening the internal security of the state” through “propaganda” that may threaten “the loyalty that citizens owe to the State and institutions of the Moroccan people” under Article 206 of the Penal Code, according to official court papers. If proven correct, they may face imprisonment for over five years. Although the government of Morocco has done good to change the Penal Code to include positive human rights law, they left Article 206 unchanged, which is vague and may limit freedom of expression. Mughrabi has asked the government to repeal or amend Article 206 and drop charges against the defendants.

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