April 23, 2024

Press Freedom


Morocco March 6, 2006

HM King Mohamed VI
Cabinet Royal
Palais Royal
Kingdom of Morocco

Your Majesty:

We write to protest the apparent orchestration by your government of protests against the weekly, Le Journal Hebdomadaire, for publishing a photograph of a French newspaper showing a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad. On February 11, the newspaper published an Agence France-Presse photograph showing a reader holding the edition of the Paris daily, France Soir, which re-produced the Danish cartoons of the Prophet. The cartoons were barely visible, but to avoid controversy, Le Journal inked out the cartoon. Le Journal published the photograph as part of a 10-page chronology of the controversy that followed the publication of the drawings in Denmark ‘s Jyllands-Posten.

Even so, vehicles belonging to the Casablanca city government brought in about 100 people to protest in front of the newspaper’s offices. Municipal employees gave them placards and Moroccan flags to wave, and used megaphones to shout slogans against the paper. The state-run television stations, 2M and TVM, filmed the protests and broadcast them, and 2M accused the newspaper of “running against public opinion by taking up positions against the sacred values of our country.”

Your Majesty, this controversy has been provocative in its origins, mischievous in its exploitation and tragic in its consequences. We hope it may subside without further damage. But it would be harmful indeed if the episode served to justify suppression of the basic human right of freedom of expression. We urge you to refrain from further using the controversy as an excuse or pretext to suppress independent media in your country.

Respectfully yours,
Larry Martz 
Norman A. Schorr
Co-chairmen, Freedom of the Press Committee



Driss Jettou

Prime Minister

Office of the Prime Minister

Palais Royal – Le Mechouar


Kingdom of Morocco

Fax: (011.212.7) 76-99-95



Aziz Mekouar

Ambassador of Morocco to the U.S.A.

Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco

1601 21st Street NW

Washington DC 20009

Fax: (202) 265-0161



Ambassador Mohamed Bennouna

Permanent Representative

Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Morocco

to the United Nations

866 Second Avenue

New York , NY 10017

Fax: (212) 980-1512



Thomas T. Riley

U.S. Ambassador to Morocco

Embassy of the United States of America

2 Avenue Mohamed El Fassi

10 000 Rabat


Fax: (011.212.7) 76-56-61



The Editor