- HASSAN MASIKY
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The media war between the Moroccan and the Algerian press is nothing new. However, recent articles published in some Algerian newspapers have crossed the line of responsible journalistic professionalism and ethics. In fact, a recent article published by the Algerian daily l’expression and titled “Drame au Maroc -11 morts et 40 blessés lors d’un concer”t <http://www.lexpressiondz.com/article/2/2009-05-25/64066.html> was of bad taste and outright mean spirited.
In its article, l’expression used an unfortunate incident that killed almost a dozen innocent people including the elderly to launch a malicious attack against not only the Moroccan government but also the Moroccan society in general. The “journalist” Fouad Irnatene writes “le Royaume chérifien compte de nouveau ses morts. Cette mort absurde de Marocains est due à des problèmes internes” implying that the “Mawazine” concert episode was some what related to internal problems in Morocco. Unfortunately, this non sense reporting is a typical news and political analysis that shows up on a regular basis in a variety of news outlet close to the Algerian anti-Moroccan lobby.
The venoms nature of such news items only inflames the raw Moroccan-Algerian relationship that already suffers from a cold spill. It is ironic that the mentioned story came out during the same week an Algerian armed group attacked several targets in the east Algerian region of Boumerdes. Not to compare the safety state of affairs in the two countries or abuse the misfortunes of the Algerian dead civilians and military personnel, the security conditions in Algeria is much more critical and shaky at best compared to its neighbors. Mr. Fouad Irnatene must be in the Lala land of dreams and science fiction.I
Other News outlets that regularly cook up fictional stories about the life, daily conditions, and political and security conditions in Morocco are the Arabic dailies Annahar and echorouk. On different occasions the Annahar news papers have accused the Moroccan special services of being behind all and any calamity that happens in Algeria. In an article published on 03/25/2009 <http://www.echoroukonline.com/eng/index.php?news=5547>, echorouk accused Morocco of “exporting Death to the Algerians” by purposely smuggling drugs and weapons into Algeria. The daily goes on to accuse Morocco of covertly working with the Israeli secret service the “Mossad” to destroy the Palestinians by smuggling Hashish to Algeria: Hard to follow logic and absurd theories.
Such shabby journalistic work discredits the well established independent media in Algeria. The Echourouk and l’expression journalists portray the Algerian press as amateurish and unreliable, dishonoring the memory of several Algerian media heroes who died in the line of duty reporting about the real issues of concern to the Algerians. Beside the few rags that report rubbish stories as mentioned, Algeria has a vibrant independent press that is the envy of others in region. Actually, few courageous Algerian journalists had denounced these inaccurate and piousness writings of some of their colleagues. The Mafia in Algiers that benefits from the ongoing Moroccan-Algerian conflict over the Western Sahara is the only one that profits form such corrupt behaviors.
It is the oldest trick in the book: Report on unsavory stories of your neighbor, so you look good to your people. Clearly, in Algeria few news outlets that pretend to be independent are working with the Mafias that have been exploiting and fleecing the Algerians of their riches. Moroccans and Algerians do not need some second class Algerian newspaper to read about social issues bedeviling the Moroccan society. All they need is open a true Moroccan independent newspaper. Drugs, corruption, crime, nepotism are few of the subjects that are treated on a daily basis on the columns of Moroccan news paper. Interestingly enough the same issues are treated by the serious independent news media in Algeria as the average Algerians suffer from similar social ailments as their neighbors to the west.