Paris 'regrets' Moroccan censorship of royal poll

5th August 2009, Comments 0 comments

French foreign ministry says it is surprised by Morocco’s decision to block sales of newspapers carrying poll on King Mohammed VI.

Paris – France said Tuesday it regretted Morocco's decision to block sales of French and Moroccan newspapers carrying an opinion poll on King Mohammed VI's first 10 years in power.

"We are surprised by this measure which we regret," said a foreign ministry spokesman.

"We are particularly attached to freedom of expression, which is protected by the United Nations' International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Morocco has ratified, and its corollary, freedom of the press," he said.

Moroccan authorities on Monday blocked the sale of the French daily Le Monde after it published the poll, which ironically showed that Moroccans have an overwhelmingly positive view of their 45-year-old monarch.

Moroccan magazine TelQuel and its Arabic version Nichane, which joined forces with Le Monde for the survey, were taken off news stands on Saturday.

Communications Minister Khalid Naciri explained then that "the monarchy in Morocco... cannot be the object of debate even through a poll".

The TelQuel group said it would lodge a complaint with a Casablanca court on Tuesday.

The poll said that 91 percent of the 1,108 people questioned by LMS-CSA, a local subsidiary of the French CSA polling institute, had a positive opinion of the king.

Forty-nine percent said they believed Morocco was a democratic monarchy, compared to 33 percent saying they thought it was an authoritarian state.

AFP / Expatica

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