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Morocco seeks to regulate, develop online media

By Naoufel Cherkaoui for Magharebia in Rabat – 13/03/12

The Moroccan Ministry of Communication organised a study day on the electronic press Saturday (March 10th) in Rabat in order to modernise the sector and to build a legal framework.

Legal and regulatory issues were examined along with professional ethics and intellectual property protection, as well as how to develop skills and techniques among online media contractors.

"It is a historic day on which we met with most Moroccan websites to examine how to organise the sector, which represents one of the pillars of the media in our country," Communication Minister Mustapha El Khalfi said.

He added that "the number of Internet subscribers has reached 3.2 million, while the total number of those using the internet is at 16 million, and under that mode Morocco became a developed country in this field at the Arab, African and Mediterranean level."

"Morocco is suffering in this field from a legal vacuum and the absence of clear public policy allowing this rising and promising sector all the conditions of growth, modernization and competitiveness," El Khalfi went on to say. "We have a paradox—on the one hand there is digital progress, and on the other there are political, legal and managerial shortcomings."

"The government is looking to launch a new era for this field on the basis of freedom and responsibility and is convinced of the fact that this sector, in which young people are active, is an opportunity to enhance the competitiveness of Morocco in this aspect," he concluded.

Younes Moujahid, President of the National Moroccan Press Syndicate (SNPM), said the study day was "the beginning of a serious discussion on the field of electronic media, which evolved with the growing margin of freedom and with technological advances".

"It has become imperative to study this field as it raises problematic legal and technical, professional and economic [issues]," he added.

According to president of the Moroccan Association for Electronic Journalism, Adil Klei, electronic media regulation has three key areas: intellectual property and journalistic ethics, specialised training for electronic journalism and the maintenance of a professional environment through legal institutions.

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