Hundreds protest Morocco trial of journalists

Rabat - Hundreds protested on Thursday outside a Moroccan court in support of four journalists being tried for publishing content deemed confidential.

The journalists stand accused of publishing in late 2016 excerpts of a parliamentary commission's debates over huge deficit at the national pension fund.

A member of the Democratic Labour Confederation (CDT) is also being prosecuted for providing information on these debates.

"Freedom of expression is a red line," journalists and activists chanted outside the courthouse in the capital Rabat.

Thursday's hearing was adjourned to March 8 as one of the journalists did not appear for trial.

"This trial is quite unique. We're being prosecuted for publishing accurate information," defendant Abdelhak Belachgar said.

"We're being prosecuted according to elements in the penal code relevant to professional secrecy, not according to the press code," the journalist with Akhbar al-Yaoum newspaper said.

A new press code in Morocco since 2016 no longer includes prison sentences, but reporters continue to be tried under the penal code, New York-based rights group Human Rights Watch says.

The head of the national press union, Abdellah Bekkali, said he was worried by the increase in Morocco of legal cases against journalists.

Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders ranked Morocco 133rd out of 180 countries in its World Press Freedom Index last year.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
The ANC's leadership race is heating up. Who do you think will be elected party president at Nasrec in December?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has got it in the bag
6% - 262 votes
I foresee a second term for Cyril Ramaphosa
82% - 3365 votes
Don’t discount a Zweli Mkhize win
12% - 499 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
17.93
+0.2%
Rand - Pound
20.02
-0.4%
Rand - Euro
17.61
-0.0%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.67
-0.0%
Rand - Yen
0.12
+0.1%
Gold
1,670.55
+0.6%
Silver
19.16
+1.8%
Palladium
2,225.50
+0.9%
Platinum
879.00
+1.3%
Brent Crude
88.49
-0.9%
Top 40
57,350
+0.8%
All Share
63,641
+0.6%
Resource 10
60,765
+1.6%
Industrial 25
77,074
+0.4%
Financial 15
13,723
+0.1%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE