Promoting freedom of expression and inclusive journalism in Morocco

Project completed
two women journalists in a studio
Moroccan journalists during an MDI training session © MDI ©

The SDC funds a project to get media professionals and political decision makers involved in promoting freedom of expression, diversity and inclusive journalism in Morocco. Launched during the constitutional reform process in Morocco back in 2011, the initiative showed its relevance during the legislative period in September/October 2015.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Morocco
Governance
Human rights
Gender
Decentralisation
Human rights (incl. Women's rights)
Media & freedom of information
Women’s equality organisations and institutions
21.06.2013 - 31.08.2016
CHF 647'205

It was in 2011 that the Media Diversity Institute (MDI) decided to engage with decision makers, media professionals and civil society in order to promote freedom of expression in Morocco. In the midst of the constitutional reform process which was then taking place in the country, the project launched by the MDI aimed to ensure that Moroccan media policies, legislation and practices enable and encourage diversity of voices and opinions.

Tailor-made training for journalists

The SDC has been offering its financial support to the initiative since 2013. By mid-2015, the project had given training in inclusive journalism to more than 60 journalists nationwide from the major radio stations, newspapers and online media. They all benefited from workshops that couple theory with practice. During the same period, MDI also organised public debates and round table discussions with the participation of key decision makers such as politicians and parliamentarians, officials and also academics and journalists. Some 82 civil society organisations have developed their digital media skills. and 8 have benefited from onsite consultancy.

Action Jeune pour Jeune (AJJ), for instance, is a partner organisation that has taken part in the project since its inception. “MDI training and on-site consultancy helped us to build our capacities to use media to reach authorities and main political and social actors in Morocco. We are now thinking about how to use social media in an intelligent way so that we attract more media to cover our events”, one of its activists commented. So far all AJJ’s campaigns in 2015 have been launched on their social media pages. The number of AJJ’s Facebook users has increased from around 13,000 to 26,000 since October 2013.

In addition to AJJ, another programme’s major beneficiary is the Association Jeunes sans Frontières (AJSF). AJSF has shown a huge amount of enthusiasm and drive and has come up with many ideas to put into practice some of the methods learned during the first two years of MDI training. It relies for instance on more citizen journalists in rural areas by using simple recording methods such as phones.

Media to become actor of change

Initiating a change of behaviour in the media is a long process and needs a multi-level approach that combines skills, policy frameworks and an enabling environment. By continuing to intervene at these different levels, this project will create the policy, management and professional environment for inclusive media to flourish and reflect the diversity of Moroccan society in what people read, watch and hear. The desired result in the medium and long term is for the Moroccan media to become an actor of change and an important platform for democratic discourse leading to greater tolerance, inclusion and social cohesion.

A morocco delegation in Switzerland to discover Swiss federalism

As part of the partnership with MDI, the Swiss Embassy in Rabat has invited 20 Moroccan journalists to take part in a study tour to Switzerland. The trip is designed to introduce the participants to Switzerland’s strengths in terms of cultural diversity, multilingualism, federalism and democracy in the practice of politics and relations with the media. The Moroccan media representatives were received by several counterparts of the French-speaking press, attended meetings at the national and local radio and television stations and witnessed the production of flagship programmes. They also visited the Institute of Federalism in Fribourg, the Council of Representatives of the Press and the Journalists Training Centre, as well as the information unit of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA).