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Which Morocco does US News Media See?

Meknes  / Morocco Board News---   It's been nearly four weeks since Moroccans approved King Muhammad VI's constitutional reforms, and the American and European media remains split between praise for and skepticism of the nation's step towards democracy. Depending on who you read, watch or listen to, you can come away with radically different perspectives on Morocco's political situation. To make sense of these points of view, today I'm asking the news media, "Which Morocco do you see?"

Writing in the New York Times, columnist Nicholas Kristof presents a single-minded view of Morocco's protests and reform movement. He favors the 'fight the power' narrative, exclusively quoting street protesters and liberal political activists critical of the monarchy and desiring a change to full democracy. He portrays the monarchy as "grudgingly" moderate, citing contradictions between prior reforms and the current lack of political freedoms to illustrate the government's equivocal commitment to democratization. In the end, Kristof places Morocco at a crossroads, between real reform and a violent crackdown, a la Bahrain and Yemen, and stating that there is a "whisper of hope" that King Muhammad will do "the right thing."

We find a more balanced assessment of the political situation in Aida Alami's report on the constitutional referendum, also for the New York Times. She begins by quoting an exchange in which a taxi passenger criticizes the February 20 movement for continuing their protests: "Can’t they just leave us in peace. They wanted a new constitution. They got it. What else do they want?" The driver responds, "They are fighting for our rights. I hope they keep on marching until our health and education systems are fixed and corruption, the biggest ill of this country, is gone."

With this frame, she goes on to illustrate some of the constitutional referendum's key drawbacks: the short period of time between the announcement of the reforms and the vote itself, how the King's support for the reforms may have influenced the vote, and the reform's failure to fully address the pro-democracy movement's demands. Her article concludes by predicting that the protest movement will continue until it achieves its goals.

On the other side of the spectrum are the journalists who have joined many Western governments in praising Morocco for its peaceful and 'real' response to the protest movements. The best example of this is CNN's Fareed Zakaria whose interview with Taieb Fassi Firhi, Morocco's Foreign Minister, last Sunday gave the Moroccan government 8 minutes in the limelight to plug its take on the constitutional reforms.

Zakaria introduces Firhi, stating that Morocco, unlike other Arab Countries, "seems to be doing something right" in its response to the February 20 pro-democracy protests. Firhi comes across as harmless (undoubtedly aided by his poor English), and spends the interview explaining how the Monarchy has always supported reform ('we've been reforming for decades'), is moderate both politically and religiously, and is a "special" and "wonderful" place. You come away from the interview enamored with Morocco, the land of adorable government officials who love democracy and moderate Muslims who love Jews.

So how can we make sense of all of this?

This media coverage illustrates the convergence of two narratives: "Arab authoritarianism" and "Moroccan exceptionalism." Kristof strongly represents the former. His article rests on several assumptions: Arab autocrats abhor democracy, only enact superficial reforms that they are doubtful to implement, and pro-democracy movements are always right and deserve our sympathy. This is a pretty simple approach to a complex situation, and Kristof makes some errors.

He never questions whether 'democracy now' is the best step for Morocco. He doesn't address any of the challenges associated with a democratic transition in Morocco, namely illiteracy, corruption and economic inequality. The question of creating real democratic institutions in a country of 50% illiteracy is never addressed. He mentions corruption as one of the nation's ills under the King, but never considers what its role would be in a new Moroccan democracy. And lastly, he makes no mention of the nation's extreme economic inequality which, as we've seen in America, can have a huge effect on democratic politics. But none of these nuances matter to Kristof because they complicate his over-arching narrative.

Alami gets closer to addressing these complexities, but her reportage is incomplete. She brings attention to the shortcomings of the February 20 movement, namely their failure to generate popular support akin to the protest movements in Tunisia and Egypt, but she fails to give much attention to those who oppose them. This is because she follows Kristof in implying that opposition to democracy comes from the powers at be and is illegitimate. Pro-Democracy protesters have unquestionable moral superiority, which is a problematic quality to ascribe to a political movement. It's possible that the woman she quotes as being "fed up" with the protesters has real, morally and politically justifiable reasons for feeling that way, but we're never given the opportunity to judge for ourselves.

At the other extreme is Zakaria, who allowed Foreign Minister Firhi to blast the "Moroccan exceptionalism" narrative across the airwaves. In this story, Morocco is and has always been different from other Arab countries. Yes, it's an autocracy, but it's been reforming for decades. Yes, it's Arab, but also Berber, so Morocco embraces diversity. Yes, it's Muslim, but its extremists are "relatively moderate" and Moroccans love Jews. Implied in all of this is, "we're the nice Arabs, so if you want to go to the Middle East on vacation, come to Morocco, or if your company wants to invest in the Middle East, invest in Morocco."

This narrative is equally as simplistic as Kristof's. The statement that Morocco has been reforming for decades brushes over past oppression and the current lack of political liberties, namely freedom of the press. Assertions of cultural and religious diversity and moderation are historically accurate, but tend to be exaggerated. Fareed Zakaria mentioned how the King of Morocco sheltered 200,000 Jews during World War Two, but said nothing about how or why those Jews suddenly left Morocco in the 1950s. This is the story that Morocco's government would like everyone to hear and believe, but is grossly incomplete.

The failure to address complexity and nuance is commonplace in today's journalism. Readers and viewers expect a complete story in 1000 or 1500 words or 5-10 minutes or less. This puts extreme limits on a journalist's ability to convey a complete, multifaceted story. As a result, some, like Kristof and Zakaria, forego any attempts to balance their narratives. Others, like Alami, try, but for whatever reason, fail to do so.

With Morocco as an example, we can see that it is difficult to find complete coverage of complex world events in any one media source. It is a reader's and viewer's responsibility to read and watch widely. But even then, it's hard to find intelligent, nuanced analysis in today's media environment.

 

Comments (23)  

 
Aziz El Alami
0 #1 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Which Morocco does US News Media See?Aziz El Alami 2011-07-27 04:35
There are always (at least) two sides to the story… and this doesn’t necessarily that one side is wrong -- In the case of Kristof, Zakaria, Fihri and Alami, they all presented their cases the way they understood them and based on the information available to them. They all put forth quotes from the general public, historical facts and more importantly; their own spin to influence the readers one way or the other.

I tend to side with Mr. Fihri’s assessment of who Moroccans truly are and where Morocco is heading.
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chtaini
0 #2 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Which Morocco does US News Media See?chtaini 2011-07-27 11:34
Chtaini said

...

I also tend to agree with Si Alami and Mr. Fassi Fihri's assessment of who Moroccans truly are and where Morocco is heading.
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Achlah is back
0 #3 A Morocco Without an Intellectual and Political Oligarchy Outside of the Makhzen Circle of FriendsAchlah is back 2011-07-27 13:32
As far as the American media is concerned, Farid Zakaria and other Journalists are imposing their narrative of the situation in Morocco in an attempt to find a sexy and unique story for the American audience's 5 minute entertainment .
The ISSUE:
The concept referred to by Sociologist Robert Michel as "the Iron Law of Oligarchy" applies to the Moroccan example.:
•Mr Fassi Fihri and the Makhzen, represents the extreme example of an autocratic oligarchy, that care more about the West's perception of it political system than it cares about it own citizen understanding of the constitution. Moroccans have been given less than 2 weeks time frame to understand and debate their constitution, and were told to go vote Yes on a Friday.

•Unlike the Egyptian youth movement where an elite and concerned oligarchy represented by Mr. Baradii, Ayman Noor and others have fought side by side with the youth , The 20 Feb doesn't have courageous oligarchy to direct, mentor and defend the legitimate grievances.
Congratulation to the Makhzen and all the Fassi Fihris out there on what they have accomplished: "A Morocco without an intellectual and political oligarchy outside of the Makhzen circle of friends".
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Morcelli
0 #4 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Which Morocco does US News Media See?Morcelli 2011-07-27 22:27
Unless we are talking about Spanish reporters, everyone the author mentioned reported the truth, sometimes we like it, other times we don't.
Morocco is trying, are we better off since 1999? yes we are, are we moving fast enough? we are not.
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Moroccan Patriot
0 #5 Morcelli and Achlah are correctMoroccan Patriot 2011-07-28 03:49
The real Morocco is definitely somewhere in the middle. The Moroccan regime is not as bad as the Pakistani, Egyptian or Algerian Regimes, but it has a lot of room for improvement. Morocco needs to move in the direction of the Swiss, Norwegian, Danish and Canadian models....

There are two ways that Morocco can change... quickly, or slowly....

The oligarchy and the Moroccan regime are doing everything they can to make sure that change happens as slowly as possible.
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Observer
0 #6 Conflicted viewsObserver 2011-07-28 07:07
Thanks Mat for the various view points (difficult to locate sometimes) and your assessment of situation.

I would like to add few thing on Farid’s piece and his guest Mr. Fihri.

I like Farid and his peaceful demeanor, but the profession he is in demands taking risks …, unless he cares more about the job than keeping true to the art or “political (in)correctness .” It must be said that with a man of his background, religion and visage and accent, it is a miracle that he is on TV to start with.

As for the case of his hosting of Mr. Fihri on Morocco, unfortunately his one-sided show did very little to inform the American people of the situation in Morocco – selective reporting that are not even consistent with recent statements by the same individual is poor propaganda, to put it mildly. Plus, Fihri’s limited English didn’t help matters either. Moroccan representatives that are tasked to speak to the American people MUST have command of the English language, understanding of the culture, and ability to look comfortably and confidently in front of the camera – for God’s sake if you must be a propagandist be that best at it. The American people would have been better served had the show offered an opportunity for balancing points of view. A member of the Moroccan youth movement would be been done the job.

Have you ever wondered why the guy always speaks in fainting voice and looks as if he is in dire need to the run to the bathroom?

If “chronic diarrhea” is to blame, why not cut down on ghriyba, the figurative ghriyba that is! That should help, at least with sleep!

Thanks

PS. As for the consistency problem, I watched a recent video of Fihri when he recently came to the US to market the defunct referendum. Brookings give the guy a prestigious welcome only to send the attendees all to sleep in a manner of minutes. During his presentation, he emphatically stated (corrected himself rather) that he didn’t like to call or refer to Morocco as the exception … two months later, Morocco is the exception again …

Well Mr. Fihri, when you settle the dispute with yourself, please let us know.
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chtaini
0 #7 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Which Morocco does US News Media See?chtaini 2011-07-28 12:48
Chtaini said

What does ("Have you ever wondered why the guy always speaks in fainting voice and looks as if he is in dire need to the run to the bathroom?

If “chronic diarrhea” is to blame, why not cut down on ghriyba, the figurative ghriyba that is! That should help, at least with sleep"!) have to do with debate over the issues at hand?

Mr. Fassi Fihri is a soft spoken person. That is his personality. He has been an excellent Minister of foreign Affairs of Morocco at a time when difficult negotiations are taken place with the Polisario secessionists. If I had something to say, it would be to encourage him to continue and prevail in the negotiations in the interest of our beloved Morocco.
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Ahmed Tijani
0 #8 Goulo l3am zinAhmed Tijani 2011-07-28 23:42
Quote:
excellent Minister of foreign Affairs
Quite the claim, hmmm. The last time I checked Morocco and the United states have one of the longest diplomatic relationships in the world. Our governments are good friends and having been working together for a long time. However, the Kennedy center for justice and human rights honored A.H (the crazy lady who went on a hunger strike), and was even mentioned as a potential Nobel peace prize winner. All of the fame she received was on the watch of his excellent Minister of foreign affairs.
who cares about the 12 steps program. Morocco's version has one step "Goulo l3am zin" cures all of our failures. Just by saying Mr Elfihri is an excellent minister he automatically becomes one. see? it works :-)

Note: I didn't mentioned the lady's name so it does not get picked up by search engines which would give more visibility.

AT









:-):-)
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Frankie
0 #9 Political vacuum that makes the stage title extortionFrankie 2011-07-29 08:04
Thanks< matt for the Article, Great Job.

There are those who take advantage of the situation automatically and awareness of others and the insistence of the monitor
Shell movement of trains, cut off the highway, the occupation of the headquarters of the party, stop the wheel of the economy, impede the export of phosphate ... Thus seemed to us these days means of protest.
Unemployed angry, protesters are threatening to set fire to their bodies, people give up their nationality, their cards and other burning national fragmentation and want to protest on the throne rejoicing ... Thus began auctions.
As is some serious riots are contained in the State have the most serious,.warns of disaster, no stability could have serious consequences, as they do not desist from sending letters after the other reports that the gov. was hit and debilitating premature ageing
It was therefore permissible today that the 800 unemployed to occupy the headquarters of the Independence Party at Bab Al ahad in Rabat, a palace, it is not evacuate until after the signing of the minutes of guaranteed jobs for those in the Finance Bill 2012.
It has also become almost returned to the «citizens» Community Urban Djazoulah (South East Asfi) to attack members of the gendarmerie, affiliated to the Centre of Djazoulah's Teratory, who were arrested and was the subject of search warrant. They had no choice but to break into a barber's shop to escape from attacking citizens, awaiting the arrival of reinforcements, but the attackers broke into the saloon itself, and free the hands of the defendant's handcuffs, before being baptized to pouring boiling water on one of gendarmes, causing him burns that required him to Emergency!
This is the general picture now, and chaos is the title , the country lived a political vacuum really exploited by some people, either consciously or without it: The state is experiencing a transition since the announcement of the new draft constitution, it is likely that the situation continues until the proclamation on the composition of the first government under the reign again. It is a very sensitive stage of transition, and the stage is declared void and will not become clear image and mirage settles only on the appointment of a government that can take the courageous decisions.
The government current composed of a ghost thinking of their own political future over the future of the country, handcuffsed, but paralyzed after the end of their authority was their response is natural that «shook their hands for the interests of the country and the people», and what they are doing today is procrastination , and the transfer of the heavy legacy to the next government which inevitably will be its president in an untenable situation.
While some people take advantage of this situation spontaneously, as is the case with «Al Farracha» or street vendors who have turned people's lives into hell, and paid the store owners to convert their part to new pay royalties instead of payment of taxes and dues of the State, and make all of them from the streets and lanes tract and the market is open seven days a week, other parties such as the democratic approach or Justice and Charity (Adl wal Ihssan) are tapping the situation awareness and determination, monitor, and they want to raise the ceiling of their demands to what we know and do not know" Manipulating the System and the people!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
.
The Moroccan people are living in chaos, and most of them suffer the consequences of forms of protest condemned due transition caused a fatal political vacuum, the greater the accumulated problems became exacerbated stage is the title of extortion
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Sahrane
0 #10 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Which Morocco does US News Media See?Sahrane 2011-07-30 11:08
The us media see morocco through the lobbyists glasses.and we all know how provide those glasses.
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Moroccan Patriot
0 #11 Mr. Fassi Fihri brings shame to MoroccoMoroccan Patriot 2011-07-30 23:25
Mr. Fassi Fihri is the most incompetent person to ever run a foreign ministry PERIOD. Name one positve thing he has accomplished? The world does not recognize the south of Morocco as being part of Morocco because of his poor work ethic, bad choices in selecting staff and all around poor management skills. Ambassadors are fired because their wives get into arguments over seating charts, while other Embassy posts are given to those who are least willing and able to enhance Moroccan trade or take care of Moroccan issues abroad.

Mr. Chiatni, you are an apologist for people who should be hung for treason against Morocco. Mr. Fihri, and the Benanni's who run RAM are criminals who are guilty of high crimes against the Moroccan people, and yet you decide to defend them????

Most people in the US have no idea where Morocco is, they also have no idea where their own city or state happens to be on the map, and for this we can thank the really competent people who work for the Moroccan government (sarcasm) - It seems the same incompetence that you encounter when trying to legalize papers in Morocco is found at all of our foreign embassies too.
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chtaini
0 #12 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Which Morocco does US News Media See?chtaini 2011-07-31 03:40
Chtaini said

You are right and everyone else is wrong. Are yoou happy now? I hope this will shut you up! Walainy Laska Anta? Wak wak a 3ibad Allah?
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H.Masfour
0 #13 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Which Morocco does US News Media See?H.Masfour 2012-01-08 03:26
It's high time Moroccans conceived of their country through their own lenses and learn how to practice difference beyond the superficial flatteries or the biting criticism of the American media.Indeed ,this latter is servile to metropolitan capitalism ,which is self-interested and viable only when its surplus is exploited to dominate the lucrative weakest. since 9/11, the American media has been entangled in Morocco as a gate to the great middle east and not for its sake or its people's welfare.it's high time the American Media recovered its lost ethics with the ARAB WORLD and reported beyond populism or propaganda.
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Aali Ouzzine
0 #14 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Which Morocco does US News Media See?Aali Ouzzine 2012-01-08 06:57
There are always different interpretations of a given incident or act. As noted before, Kristof, Zakaria, Fihri and Alami presented their cases the way they understood them and based on the information available to them. But, actions speak louder than words. Even words are not effective in the case of Fihri, who has failed to communicate his good oral speech to the audience! Language is no longer a barrier, Mr ex-minister!!

Now, with the new constitutional reforms, which are supposed to be put into practice by the new government, I can say, with confidence, that Morocco is on the right path.
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F. AIT LAHCEN
0 #15 It's been always just ink on a piece of paperF. AIT LAHCEN 2012-01-11 03:55
It is Clear from this article that the US media is interestingly keeping up with Morocco's changes and reformes. i agree with Mr. Ouasine that there is always a multiple of perspectives and lenses through which things are consieved by every single person person.Mr. Zakaria, Ms alami,Kristof, Fihri as well as the writer of the article himself, everyone of them expressed their opinions about the situation in Moroocco after Febrary 20th from their own angle of vision. As i see it myself,listenin g to the new constitutional reform on TV, most of the things it came up with were already there. In Morocco there is a crisis which is putting theory into practice. The ideas in the previous and the new constitution are just OUTSTANDINING!! reading it, a person feels a kind of rhapsody. But, what really annoys this rhapsody is when you walk down the streets or when you get in the Moroccan administrations or ... because everyone beleives that that stuff is just" HIBR 3ALA WARAK" (just ink on a piece of paper). Let's just hope for the best!!!
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Abderrazak Baddou
+1 #16 Ironic ObservationsAbderrazak Baddou 2012-01-11 23:52
I do not have any scientific tools to assess the tasks done by the minister Fihri -it's the job of the government in democratic states- nor do I have the authority to deny and/or support any of Alami's, Kristof's or Zakaria's opinions. For me, They are all important that they bring the complexities of the story to the surface.
As a layman, I see that There are two levels of the story, the first is that protests have been taking place in Morocco as in the other countries (even in Europe) - some said that it's just a fashion that 2011 brought about (imitation). The second, the governments have tried (still trying) to stabilize and bring back the order; some failed some are still fighting.
I do not expect Fassi fihri as a high rank Moroccan official to say that Morocco is not "wonderful" and not "special". All that he says comes in the officials attempts to calm down the situation. I've noticed also that many people claim a deterioration in Moroccan foreign affairs during his command.
As for CNN and pro-US government channels and newspapers, they have almost always been showing their supportive attitudes with the Moroccan government under the rule of the monarchy, making of it and a successful exception country among unwholesome Middle Eastern regimes. I am sure you know that in politics allies praise and support each other even they are corrupt. I and you too must have seen many instances when the Moroccan first channel bring up news about some American official or important newspaper praising Morocco or the king. There are many examples anyway that you already notice. For a simple man like me, when I see New York Times or others saying good things about Moroccan system it makes proud (being ironical), as if the US media is a prophet who says only the Truth.
US media should see Morocco as a country which has historical ties with USA, they should not spot the negatives of the country that first recognized USA. Morocco is an obedient country to USA, never refused a thing. Why would the US media portray Morocco as a tyranny when Morocco has sighed almost all treaties of human rights, protocols of UN and hosted international conferences on environment protection etc.?
This is the kind of Morocco that USA want. The one we see on TV and hear officials talk about; a 'moderate', almost secular and 'anti-terrorist ' Morocco. We should not deny that many a Moroccan are happy with the regime and its officials. So, what would push the US media to criticise or say the 'truths' instead of the Truth about Morocco? Are we like Iran? Do we have nuclear plants? Do we have petrol?
As long as we are dependent on US as the representatives always do in many instances of Moroccan politics. US mainstream media will keep viewing this dependency, we are used to it, Moroccan media are always ready to show us what the 'great' American think about. The greats talk only about the greats.
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Zahir
0 #17 easily manipulated!!!Zahir 2012-01-13 07:33
Moroccans are not in need of the American media to know where this country is heading nor can they see that through the Moroccan media!!! in other terms, the media can never be a reliable source of knowledge; rather the media can be a tool to domisticate the citizens as it is the case in Morocco. because the vast majority of Moroccans are illiterate, the state finds it easy to make the citizens think and behave in conformity with its ideologies and interests!! the reason why the American media conceive of Morocco in a positive manner is crystal clear!! if we talk about progress or change, we can talk about changes in manipulating the citizens, changes of policies, but the economic or social changes have not yet taken place!! this country is still run in the same traditional way it used to be governed with!!
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Mohamed handour
0 #18 The institutionaliz ation of minds is what we are in dearth of.Mohamed handour 2012-01-14 02:25
Those who reiterate that Morocco has been reforming for decades and that it represents the exception among Arab countries, are cordially invited to pay a visit to Anfgou ,on the outskirts of Khenifra, where progress has reached its apex. There they would meet with scores of illiterate women and children ( far worse than American natives at the dawn of the settlement) whose life is a daily struggle for survival. There they would encounter patients writhing in agony ( and no medicine at hand) because of pneumonia and other diseases. There they would touch human suffering itself. And if they are not attracted to Anfgou, in this cold weather , they could choose another destination : I would recommend Zawit Ahnsal , as a case in point, (if they have ever heard of it) , where the situation is far better thanks to the reforms of 21 st century Morocco. Indeed, what Morocco badly needs is not the institutional reforms but the institutionaliz ation of minds.
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Abdelhalim  Ezz.
0 #19 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Which Morocco does US News Media See?Abdelhalim Ezz. 2012-01-15 00:53
Generally, Alami, Kristof, and Zakaria differ somewhat in the way they conceive of Morocco after the so called "Arab Spring" and the reforms which took and are still taking place in the country. So are my colleagues (in this forum) in the way they conceive of the image rendered by these journalists. Apparently, some of the commentators seem to be moderate. They find that these people are just talking about things as they understand them or (as for some they speak the truth), but other commentators either see some shortcomings in the way the journalist cover the situation. The interview with Mr. Fihri for instance is regarded by some commentators as an incorrect choice. One of the reasons (among others) mentioned is that the other party ( the February 20 movement)must have a say. Personally, all the comments are quiet interesting in a way or another. What is true for me, apart from what has been said in the article or in the comments, is the following:
First, media (be it national or international), do not give the complete truth.
Second, Morocco has undoubtedly undergone changes in different fields. In other words, it is progressing though some challenges like illiteracy, health, corruption, economic inequality...,t hat may hamper this progress, need to shed light on by the new government. This is probably what makes it an "exception" the MENA region after the "Arab Spring".
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Brahim ELMOUDDEN
0 #20 Important but not enough!Brahim ELMOUDDEN 2012-01-15 02:34
while reading that article about the Us media and their conception and perception of the changes taking place in Morocco, I can say that it is to some extent paradoxical and shows the long historical policy of America towards other countries which is maintaining always its interests; while showing that it is with the Moroccan changes and new reforms taken by the monarchy, at the same time America ,through it's media, is alert in the case that other changes may emerge! this is in a sese gives it a sense of flexibilty in its policy while dealing with Morocco.
Anyway,broadly speaking what can be said about the MOROCCAN CHANGES TAKING PLACE is that they are distictive but still not enough! This is regardless of what the American media can tell us!
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A. Touhami
0 #21 COMMENT_TITLE_R E Which Morocco does US News Media See?A. Touhami 2012-01-15 05:19
There are three versions of every story: my version, your version and the truth. Media sounds to give neither of the versions. It always tends to provide a fourth view of reality which goes hand-in-glove with the ideologies of one country or another. My view is neutral, however, but those of the commentators, written in reaction to the article above, oscillate between supporting and detracting the role of Media in the representation of the other. Each commentator departs from his own ideologies and personal standpoint vis-à-vis the way the U.S media approaches the Moroccan constitutional reform. The latter is met by acceptance and refusal. Those who wholeheartedly acquiesce in the Moroccan initiative view in the reform a doorway to a realm of opportunities, which are to advance the Moroccan fight for democracy, equity and equality. The others, by means of analogy, maintain that the reform is nothing but another political cover-up. That is, the constitutional reform is but a disguising coat worn by the governments and its cognates to cloak the wide chasm between the government’s preaching reforms and the lived-experienc e translated in reality. Such a paradigm propels the detractors to lose faith in the Moroccan government as a state and as a representative of a whole country, despite the perpetual cover and the constant flux of propaganda that national and foreign media sustain and maintain in this vein.
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Soufiane Mers
0 #22 how truthful the American Media about Morocco?Soufiane Mers 2012-01-15 05:30
It’s quite normal to see such controversial viewpoints towards the last Moroccan attempts to establish a sort of democratic constitutional kingdom, which is, itself, a token of democracy. yet, we should admit that there is no perfect democratic approach or innocent attitude that can be claimed as for the sake of thorough equality, freedom and rights….simply because this is the nature of politics, always serves the interests of a group of people at the expense of others. Even when we give the population the right to vote for or against a law to be ratified, which is an act of democracy, we end up at adopting the desire of only the majority, even if it forms 51 percent. Accordingly, I wouldn’t say that all the reports stated above are wrong or vice versa. However, at each one there are certain reasonable points as well as biased ones. For the American media, it is pretty much predictable that the big American news networks and media corporations would advocate the Moroccan regime as far as this regime is its strategic ally in the region. And, as we all know, the American news is dictated by a lobby that seeks only the American interests. Thus, the American media, as all media, is characterised by the imperfection that I aforementioned and serves certain agendas. So instead of bringing news to the audience in a neutral way and giving the people the floor to judge, themselves, and choose a position for themselves, the media specialists ideologically mould the piece of information and influence the standpoint of the news receivers. But still I appreciate that along with the well-known newspapers and news channels that deliver the White House’s voice (CNN) there are others which side with the populations of the world. Through the three reports above, we face three attitudes that really complete the whole image about Morocco and compose a holistic view concerning what is going on in this country. Nicholas Krictof was on the side of the protesters, Aida Alami reported two opposing views one from a pro-democratic citizen and the other against it, then the third report by Fareed Zakaria who chose the side of the Moroccan government ( which entails the monarchy’s side). In fact, as a Moroccan, this is what I want Americans to know about my country, a truth that is coming from all the components of our country, not a piece of news that speaks for one side and neglects the others.
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El khdar Abdelmoula
0 #23 Media LensesEl khdar Abdelmoula 2012-02-09 00:41
In this article "Which Morocco do you see?"The lenses through which Western media see Morocco differs as the angles from which they see it. For example, the NY Times columnist, Nicholas Kristof, favors the 'fight the power' and desires a change to full democracy. Kristof places Morocco between a real reform and a violent crackdown, and stating that there is a "whisper of hope" that King Muhammad will do "the right thing." His view is one sided, though, claiming that the monarchy is “grudgingly moderate” and lacks democratization stratagems.
On the other side, Aida Alami's report on the constitutional referendum is more balanced than Kristof’s. She talks about the opinion and the counter-opinion , those who favor the 20 movement and those who are against it. She goes on to illustrate some of the constitutional referendum's key drawbacks and the role of the protest movement will continue until it achieves its goals.
Some Western journalists like the way Morocco approached protest movements. CNN's Fareed Zakaria interviewed with Taieb Fassi Firhi, Morocco's Foreign Minister. Zakaria introduced Fihri stating that Morocco is an “exception” and that the monarchy has been reforming for years and is “moderate” both politically and religiously.
So the way media perceives Morocco between two poles "Arab authoritarianis m" and "Moroccan exceptionalism" depends great deal on the views of the background knowledge of Morocco and the political orientation these reporters should demonstrate. Everything they see is grounded in politics, religion and society. Some see Morocco relatively moderate, some don’t.
The narrative is sometimes simple, sometimes ignorant and at other times exaggerating.
The failure to address complexity and nuance is commonplace in today's journalism. It is difficult to find complete coverage of complex world events in any one media source. Readers need extra efforts to understand these nuances and decipher complexities.
The media can never be a reliable source of knowledge; it’s the readers’ responsibility to analyze things before passing any value judgment on the state or the population. If CNN and pro-US government channels and newspapers are showing their supportive attitudes with the Moroccan government under the rule of the monarchy, it is because of the political benefits US is having with the state of Morocco. It’s not the truth yet. This is the kind of Morocco that USA want. The one we see on TV and hear officials talk about; “moderate”, almost secular and 'anti-terrorist ' Morocco.
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