Wide Angle

Leaders of political parties have mixed views on a bill to restrict social media use in Morocco

A bill, planning to restrict freedom of expression when using social media platforms, has stirred controversy in Morocco. After internet users rejected it, the bill received mixed views from party leaders in the Kingdom.

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On social media, Moroccans rejected a leaked bill on curbing freedom of expression when using platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The controversial bill did not go unnoticed by political leaders in Morocco, who had mixed views regarding its content.

On Tuesday evening, a statement signed by the Secretary-General of the Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM) rejected the infamous bill. «We reject and oppose, as a nationalist and modernist party, anything that would restrict human rights gains and freedoms that our country has achieved thanks to the sacrifices of many people», Abdelatif Ouahbi wrote.

The latter announced that his party is opposed to Bill 22.20 «given the current conditions». He further denounced the content of the bill, which «would likely undermine national unity and solidarity during these special circumstances while our country is dealing with the coronavirus pandemic».

Similarly, the general secretary of the Unified Socialist Party said that the provisions of the bill in question contradict the Constitution and international agreements. She regretted that «non-democratic governments» seize the current situation to «torpedo human rights gains». Mounib said that said bill has been examined and adopted by the government although it restricts freedom of expression.

Mixed opinions

Although it is an opposition party, the Party of Progress and Socialism (PPS) supported the government. The party’s head Nabil Benabdellah preferred to refer to the leaked parts of the bill to social media. «If the government has problems between its different components, then they should be treated equally especially at a time when we need cohesion and national unity», he wrote on his Facebook page.

«It is not the time to settle scores using this bill», he said, referring to coalition parties. The same message was voiced by the politician several times, even during the time he was forming part of the government.

True to form, the secretary general of the Popular Movement was cautious when commenting on the bill. Interviewed by Arabic-language newspaper Goud, Mohand Laenser said he has not yet reviewed the text. «We will see what the ministerial committee decides», he simply replied.

For his part, the secretary general of the Socialist Union of Popular Forces (USFP), Driss Lachgar ignored the controversy stirred by Bill 22.20, stressing that it «is just a simple draft». For the record, the bill in question was brought by the Minister of Justice, Mohamed Benabdelkader, who is a member of the same party.

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