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Media - Radio, Television and The press of Morroco

Media

The media environment in Morocco is undergoing some major changes. Press freedom has long been an issue, but the industry is moving towards a consumer-led culture. Morocco's private press is free to cover many previously-taboo issues, including social problems. But this freedom is not unbounded.


Paris-based Reporters Without Borders, while noting "positive changes", has called for an overhaul of press laws. US-based Human Rights Watch says the press code "provides an arsenal of repressive tools". Western Sahara, the monarchy and corruption are all sensitive topics and self-censorship is commonplace.

The print market is diverse and legal changes are currently in the offing. Newspaper readership is limited by low literacy levels, and competition for advertising is intense.

Members of the press must remain cautious when reporting on aspects of Islam, the royal family and territorial integrity, though press freedoms have increased considerably.

The government owns, or has a stake in, RTM and 2M, Morocco's main TV networks. An expansion of private TV and radio services is under way. Broadcasters are tamer in their coverage of sensitive topics than the print media.

Now the Ministry of Communications, which oversees media in the kingdom, is working to improve the quality of the media. A new press code is set to pass in 2007, greatly reducing the possibility of prison sentences, though other aspects of the law have drawn criticism. Television is in need of structural reform.

Local television remains dominated by state programming, while satellite channels from across the Arab world have proliferated. Looking to branch out, the creators of a new local television station hope to capture audiences beyond Morocco in the Maghreb region.

Satellite dishes are widely used, giving access to a range of foreign TV stations.

Radio is still popular in rural areas, where illiteracy is high and many do not have the cash for a television set. Four new stations began broadcasting in 2006. Television continues to draw the most revenue from advertising, while radio has seen a turnaround after a long decline in ad sales.

Telecoms companies spend the most on advertising, and foreign PR and marketing firms are beginning to set up shop in Morocco. New strategies, such as below-the-line marketing, are being introduced and will boost activity in the sector.

The press

  • Al-Anbaa - government-owned daily
  • Le Matin - semi-official daily
  • Al-Massae - private, daily
  • Assabah - private, daily
  • Liberation - private, daily
  • L'Economiste - business daily
  • Le Journal - private, weekly
  • Telquel - private, news weekly

Television

  • Radio-Television Marocaine (RTM) - operates state-run Television Marocaine (TVM)
  • 2M - partly state-owned
  • Al Maghribiya - satellite channel operated by RTM and 2M, aimed at Moroccans living abroad
  • Medi 1 Sat - Tangier-based satellite channel, privately-owned by Moroccan and French concerns

Radio

  • Radio-Television Marocaine (RTM) - state-run, operates national networks in Arabic, French and regional services
  • Medi 1 - Tangier-based, privately-owned by Moroccan and French concerns, programmes in Arabic and French
  • Western Sahara: National Radio of the Saharan Arab Democratic Republic - broadcasts in Arabic and Spanish; launched in the 1970s, the station supports the Polisario Front.

News agency

Maghreb Arab Presse (MAP) - state-run, English-language pages.

Last Updated on Monday 4th August 2008