Middle East - North Africa
Morocco / Western Sahara
Index 2024
129/ 180
Score : 45.97
Political indicator
Economic indicator
Legislative indicator
Social indicator
Security indicator
Index 2023
144/ 180
Score : 43.69
Political indicator
Economic indicator
Legislative indicator
Social indicator
Security indicator

Independent journalists in Morocco are under constant pressure, and the authorities is trying to place the media at its command. The current government, led by influential businessman Aziz Akhannouch, has tightened control over the sector.

Media landscape

The diversity of the Moroccan media is only a facade, and the media do not reflect the diversity of political opinion in the country. Independent media and journalists face significant pressure, and the right to information is crushed by a powerful propaganda and disinformation machine serving the political agenda of the government and its close allies. Faced with this pressure, the last independent media outlet in Moroccos, the daily Akhbar Al Yaoum, finally gave up and published its last issue in April 2021. Social media and news sites are the population’s main source of information.

Political context

The Justice and Development Party (PJD), an Islamist party that had been in power since 2011, was defeated in the 2021 parliamentary elections by the National Rally of Independents (RNI). The prime minister, Aziz Akhannouch, has increased judicial actions against critical journalists. For the past few years, the work of journalists has been hampered by the kingdom on many subjects, including the Western Sahara, the monarchy, corruption, Islam, security services, and the crackdown on demonstrations.

Legal framework

Morocco’s constitution guarantees freedom of expression and the right to information, prohibits any prior censorship, and states a “High Authority for Broadcasting Communication ensures respect for pluralism.” Although a new press law adopted in July 2016 abolished prison sentences for press offences, media content deemed critical can lead to legal proceedings based on the penal code. Journalists often resort to self-censorship because of the lack of legal safeguards for freedom of expression and of the press, the low level of judicial independence, and the frequency with which they are the targets of judicial proceedings. The National Press Council’s replacement by a temporary commission in 2023 was a step backwards for media self-regulation.

Economic context

The economic environment is far from favourable and the media fail to attract enough advertisers. Independent media outlets, which are increasingly rare, find it hard to establish a stable financial footing that allows them to develop. Media that support the government benefit from more accessible financial resources.

Sociocultural context

Moroccan society consumes content from independent media outlets without being ready to defend them. The prevailing misinformation is accentuated by the appetite for sensational journalism that does not respect privacy and often undermines the image of women.


Journalists are often subjected to arrests without warrants and prolonged pre-trial detentions. In recent years, fabricated morality cases, such as rape, human trafficking, adultery and illegal abortion, have been used against independent journalists. The ensuing trials have been accompanied by orchestrated smear campaigns in pro-government media. In a joint petition in 2020, 110 journalists asked the National Press Council – the regulatory body that had the power to punish media outlets that violated the press law – to impose "disciplinary sanctions" on "defamation journalism".

Abuses in real time in Morocco / Western Sahara

Killed since 1st January 2024
0 journalists
0 media workers
Detained as of today
4 journalists
0 media workers