Monday, June 17, 2013

Watching TV in Morocco

Here is an article from the New York Times on the power play over what's on television in Morocco.  


In Morocco, TV Is Part of Power Game

By Aida Alami
Published: May 22, 2013

RABAT — A decision by Morocco’s Islamist-led government in April last year to make television reform one of its top priorities has turned the country’s media industry into a pawn in an escalating power tussle between the governing Justice and Development Party and the Royal Palace.

Throughout the years, the Royal Palace has never relinquished control over the networks. When the Justice and Development Party came to power in November 2011 and Abdelilah Benkirane was named prime minister, one of its first actions was to lay down new rules for broadcasting.

Network managers protested, and King Mohammed VI intervened, appointing a special commission to decide on the matter. Meanwhile, no contracts were signed for a year, putting the industry into crisis. Actors, directors and producers say that they have lost over a year’s work.

“The question is who has the legitimacy to define what Moroccan television should be: the minister of communication or the palace?” said Youssef Belal, a political scientist and sociologist at the University of Rabat who is currently a visiting scholar at Columbia University.