Newspapers provide insight into state of free speech
The recent imprisonment of an editor in Morocco is a point of concern for the state of free speech within the country.
One of the oldest mediums in the discussion of modern cases of open expression is the newspaper. These publications serve as a place for which people can become informed about their current events and read the opinions of many writers on the state of affairs domestically and around the world.
This kind of forum is essential for educating public citizens and providing them with educated critiques of society at large. However, in Morocco, citizens are seeing these opinions silenced, as the ruling power may feel that they are hitting too close to home.
The Washington Post reports that Moroccan editor, Ali Anouzla, has appeared in court for the first time since being arrested and charged with advocating terrorism and aiding terrorists. Fears are growing that the outcome of the case could lead to further restrictions on press freedom throughout the nation, as more independent journalists move online.
Anouzla was arrested in September after publishing a story on Lakome.com in regards to an al-Qaida video that criticized the country. Some feel that the editor's secular position and criticism of Morocco's King Mohammed VI could be one of the major reasons for his detainment.
The news source reports that such limitations on free press within the country have ramped up since 2009. Independent publications, especially ones published online, have been the targets of this kind of censorship, while print and broadcast media has changed to comply with official restrictions on free speech.
Newspapers and free speech
October 21 to 27 is Free Speech Week within the United States. Caroline Little, the CEO of the Newspaper Association of America, explains that these periodicals play a big role in protecting free speech rights in the United States. In a piece published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, she writes that newspapers can accommodate a variety of different opinions through op-ed pieces, letters to the editor, and other forms of engagement.
With internet publications growing increasingly common, these avenues can become even more accessible to people as more voices are disseminated throughout the country and the globe via cyberspace.
This is one of the major reasons why the recent action in Morocco is concerning. By silencing these alternative voices, citizens are deprived of contrary opinions, which could provide enlightening insight into the problems of today.