Morocco's Audiovisual Authority Stresses Citizens' Right to Safe Content Amid Radio Broadcast Controversy

Rabat — The High Authority for Audiovisual Communication (HACA) has called for preserving the citizen's right to vigilant and safe media content, against the backdrop of the case involving an on-air staging of fictitious crimes and the dissemination of false information during a radio broadcast.

In a public statement released on Thursday, HACA states that it has been monitoring the legal proceedings against citizens involved in a case of fabricating fictitious crimes, insulting a constituted body, and spreading false information during participation in a radio program.

Taking into consideration the principle of presumption of innocence, which holds that any suspect or accused of a crime is presumed innocent until their conviction is confirmed by a judicial decision, HACA recalls certain principles governing radio and television services, particularly regarding their responsibility for preserving citizens' safety.

These principles, based on both the philosophy and spirit of the Constitution, existing legal and regulatory provisions, and the cumulative regulatory framework achieved through HACA's actions, do not in any way infringe upon the editorial freedom of audiovisual operators. They even contribute to the preservation of this freedom, which is the foundation of media practice and the right to information.

In this regard, HACA considers that "the establishment by the legislator of the principle of editorial responsibility of radio and television services and the duty of control over broadcasts is not an end in itself. It is rather a means of preserving the citizen's right, as listeners and viewers, to access trustworthy, vigilant, and safe media content, which is not contradictory to the principle of freedom of audiovisual communication and the freedom of choice of operators in terms of program style and production."

HACA constantly ensures the guarantee of honesty and integrity of information and programs, both in terms of editorial content produced and presented by radio and television professionals and in terms of collecting and broadcasting citizens' testimonies.

The ultimate goal of the regulator's action when intervening to prevent misleading the listener/viewer regarding both the accuracy of the information broadcast and the identity and quality of the persons interviewed is to extend the benefit of quality information that adheres to professional ethics.

HACA emphasizes that the principles and self-regulation mechanisms as defined by the specifications of audiovisual operators are not merely "regulatory luxuries." These principles are an important means, among others, for the consolidation of the regulatory culture.

Therefore, HACA urges all audiovisual operators to redouble their efforts in this area, to promote responsible media practices and to contribute to limiting the impact of certain harmful behaviors inherent in the unregulated digital space, which sometimes have serious repercussions in the real world.

HACA considers that the reminder of the principles and objectives of responsible radio and television practice is an integral part of its educational mission, which it carries out in complementarity with its regulatory competencies. This mission clearly distinguishes itself from the prerogatives of other institutions and aims to strengthen citizens' trust in the media.

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