24 November 2012

Western Sahara: Moroccan Authorities Arrest Saharawi Journalists and Expel Foreigners From Western Sahara

Photo: Danielle Smith/Sandblast
Saharawi children (file photo).

Washington — Freedom House indicated, in its 2012 report on the freedom of press and expression, that Moroccan authorities expel the foreign journalists and arrest Saharawi and Moroccan journalists, highlighting that this freedom being violated in Morocco.

The report mentioned several forms of violations the Moroccan journalists face, mainly associated with the exercise by the journalists to their tasks. It also focused on a number of cases in which journalists were victims for violent interventions by Moroccan security forces.

The report said that Morocco violates the freedom of press and expression, despite the fact that the Moroccan constitution clearly stipulates the respect for these freedoms.

Freedom House devoted a paragraph of this year report to the practice of journalism in Western Sahara, saying "Moroccan authorities are very sensitive to any media coverage that opposes the official position of the government on the issue of Western Sahara."

It added that Moroccan authorities expels and arrest Saharawi, Moroccan and foreign correspondents, who write critically about the topic.

Several reports of international organizations and institutions such as; Human Righst Watch, RFK Centre for Justice and Human Rights, OHCHR and European Parliament confirmed that the Saharawis are subject to harassment and violence at hand of Moroccan authorities.

Recently, Moroccan authorities expelled European journalists and observers from the occupied city of El Aaiun, directly following the visit of the UN Secretary General's Personal Envoy Christopher Ross to the Territory.

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