Morocco: leaked draft law to quell freedom of expression stirs uproar

Morocco: leaked draft law to quell freedom of expression stirs uproar

Screen grab from today's edition of Moroccan daily Akhbar Al Yaoum.
Screengrab from today’s edition of Moroccan daily Akhbar Al Yaoum.

Rabat, Morocco (TMT)-  In the midst of the coronavirus crisis, a leaked draft law, nr. 20.22, that aims to quell freedom of expression and further stifle criticism on social media platforms has stirred an uproar in Morocco, with people from all walks of the Moroccan society, and politicians from all stripes of the Moroccan political spectrum, condemning and denouncing its articles, all making no bones about calling them an affront to democracy, human rights, and the rule of law, principles enshrined in the 2011 constitution.

Among its surreal Articles, Article 14 states that people calling to boycott products or services can be sentenced to jail for six months to three years and be fined 5,000 Dhs ($500) to 50,000Dhs ($5000).

Article 15 states that any person who incites people, through social media platforms, to withdraw their money from approved monetary institutions will be subject to a jail sentence from six months to three years and be fined 5,000 Dhs ($500) to 50,000Dhs ($5000).

Another Article, number 18, states that any person who shares false information, on social media platforms, aimed to criticize the quality and safety of products and present them as a danger to the health of people and the state of the environmental security can be sentenced to jail for six months to three years and be fined 2,000 Dhs ($200) to 20,000Dhs ($2000).

The leaked draft law states that the Moroccan government approved the bill, though it says they emitted a few reserves vis-à-vis the formulation of some sentences among the bill’s articles. It also states that the government is calling upon all parliamentarians to hastily vote in favor of it.

The Moroccan Times.