Human rights organisations denounce the clampdown on social media in Morocco

The Moroccan Association for Human Rights and Human Rights Watch published a case listing Moroccan citizens who were imprisoned or indicted recently in violation of their right to express themselves peacefully online. According to the organisations, the Moroccan authorities have been stifling the digital space since September 2019 and have arrested and prosecuted at least ten activists, artists, or other citizens for peacefully expressing critical opinions via Facebook posts, YouTube videos, or rap songs. The organisations called upon the Moroccan government to release the detainees and drop the charges that vary between ‘lack of due respect for the king,’ ‘defaming state institutions,’ and ‘offending public officials’. ‘An increasing number of Moroccans are taking to social media to express bold political opinions, including about the king, as is their right. As self-censorship erodes, the authorities have stepped in to frantically try to reinstate the red lines,’ said Human Rights Watch Middle East and North Africa communications director Ahmed Benchemsi.