Moroccan magazines seized

2009-08-02 14:05

Rabat - Two Moroccan magazines were taken off news stands on Saturday after they published an opinion poll on the 10 years under the reign of King Mohammed VI, officials said.

TelQuel and Nichane, which are among the country's biggest independent publications, published a poll that was conducted with France's Le Monde newspaper on the first decade of Mohammed's rule.

Morocco's communications minister said Le Monde would not be allowed to sell any edition with the poll.

"This poll reveals that 91% of Moroccans who were interviewed say that the performance of the reign of King Mohammed VI is positive or very positive," TelQuel director Ahmed Benchemsi told AFP.

The poll coincided with the celebrations on Thursday of the 10th anniversary of Mohammed's accession to the throne after the death of his father Hassan II.

Violating the media code

Benchemsi said Le Monde is expected to publish the poll in its Tuesday edition.

The Interior Ministry said TelQuel and Nichane, which have respective circulations of 35 000 and 50 000, were seized for violating the country's media code. It did not provide another explanation.

Communications Minister Khalid Naciri warned that any Le Monde edition with a poll on the king would not be sold in Morocco.

"The same treatment will be applied to anyone who will publish this poll," he told AFP.

"The monarchy in Morocco ... cannot be the object of debate even through a poll," he said. "If Le Monde publishes this poll, it will not be able to be sold in Morocco. It's a question of consistency."

TelQuel and Nichane were last seized by the authorities in 2007 after they published an editorial in Arabic and French that officials said was libellous against the king. Benchemsi was the author of the editorial.