Vox pops: Al Jazeera's suspension

Government moves against Al Jazeera in Morocco draw a mixed reaction from the public.

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    Rabat has suspended the channel's daily Maghreb news bulletin [AFP]
    Relations between Morocco and the Al Jazeera Network have deteriorated sharply of late.

    First, Rabat decided to suspend Al Jazeera's daily news bulletin covering the Maghreb countries from its studios in the Moroccan capital.

    Then it charged Hassan Rachidi, the channel's bureau chief in the kingdom, with disseminating false information and conspiracy with regard to protests in the southwestern Moroccan city of Sidi Ifni.

    Finally, Rabat withdrew Rachidi's media accreditation.

    The strained relations have been described by some Moroccan media organisations as becoming the "talk of the town".

    Al Jazeera asked a number of Moroccans in Rabat and in the northern city of Tetouan whether they support the closure of Al Jazeera's Rabat bureau or would prefer it to continue.

    This is what they said: 

    Oufae: Al Jazeera makes blunders
    Ouafae Z, 25, secretary: I'm against Al Jazeera broadcasting from Morocco as it makes blunders that touch our sovereignty.

    In the case of Morocco as everywhere in the Arab world, the way Al Jazeera works does not reflect the aspirations of Arab regimes and people, which look at the channel as being too controversial.

    Abdel Ouahid Ben Aida, 46, teacher: I support the continuation of Al Jazeera broadcasts from Rabat as there is no such good and reliable channel in Morocco.

    Leila: More benefit than harm
    It contributes to the enlightenment of the Arab public opinion. More importantly, it is a powerful competitor to the Western media, which is, in general, guided.

    Leila, 28, housewife: I believe that Al Jazeera's news programmes from Rabat have brought more benefits to the public opinion than harm, if there is any.

    As I see it, Al Jazeera provides a free platform for those who want to voice their opinion, especially women. So I do believe that Morocco should reconsider this decision.

    Anouar: Al Jazeera unfair
    Anouar M, 36, engineer: Al Jazeera has constantly shown that it is unfair and prejudiced against Morocco, particularly in its coverage of the Western Sahara issue.

    However, the ban on the Maghreb bulletin, in my view, won't deter Al Jazeera as it may shift to another country. 

    Mohamed El Hajjam, 38, teacher: I think that the decision to forbid Al Jazeera from broadcasting from Morocco is deplorable as there is no reason why this should be.

    Mohamed: Deplorable decision
    The Maghreb bulletin was considered as an important addition to press freedom in Morocco, which was greatly appreciated by the international community.

    Abdel Rahim GH, 45, employee: I'm totally against the ban in accordance with the principle of fostering the freedom of the press in the Arab world.

    It enlightens the public opinion as well as tells the truth. Since I find in it a real outlet, I do believe that Al Jazeera's broadcast from Rabat should continue. 

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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