Angry demonstrators mob Le journal hebdomadaire over controversial cartoons

first_img April 15, 2021 Find out more News Hunger strike is last resort for some imprisoned Moroccan journalists Organisation Follow the news on Morocco / Western Sahara RSF_en June 8, 2021 Find out more Morocco / Western SaharaMiddle East – North Africa “Around 10am, several vehicles belonging to Casablanca’s urban council, under the control of the Interior Ministry, dropped off around one hundred people, men, women and children to whom they distributed placards, Moroccan flags and banners for demonstrating. These people were surrounded by officials from Casablanca’s Prefecture and city council. The leaders, equipped with loudspeakers, harangued the crowd, shouting anti-Semitic and extremist slogans such as ‘Tremble Oh Jews! Mohammed’s army is back” and ‘Through our souls and our blood we will avenge you Oh Prophet!’ A real call to murder and racial hatred…“Questioned by journalists, one badge-wearing young leader said: ‘I am a community militant. The council asked us to come here to demonstrate against the ill-doers who have sullied the image of the Prophet’…“One old woman said, ‘The council brought us here as usual because they recompense us for this type of action. I confess I don’t know what it’s really all about’…“One of the leaders responsible for collecting up the banners and placards called out to the crowd, ‘Be ready for more action in front of this newspaper’s printers and distribution company!’“In the early afternoon, the state news agency MAP contacted a number of heads of political parties, members of civil society, representatives of the community and local NGOs to get them to react to ‘the publication of the cartoons of the Prophet by Le Journal Hebdomadaire’. On the other hand, when we took the trouble to contact the major Islamist movements said they had nothing to do with the demonstrations. Moreover, one of the leaders of the PJD, the leader Islamist party with seats in parliament, told us that there had been “an attempt to manipulate party militants, messages were sent to them calling on them to take part in the demonstrations against the weekly.“It is therefore evident that there has been a crude manipulation orchestrated by the state and its media.“It is obvious that the state – through the media that it controls – was seeking by every possible means (as it tried to do for several weeks including through the 2M press review) to destroy the image of our publication, even to incite hatred and violence. Let us not forget that this comes on the eve of a verdict expected on 16 February 2006 in the case of the Brussels-based European Strategic Intelligent and Security Centre (‘ESISC), which is seeking damages of not less than 5 million dirhams (450,000 euros!) from Le Journal Hebdomadaire for having criticised its ‘study’ on Polisario separatists, a study that lacked credibility and was clearly drawn from the official positions of Moroccan diplomacy.” “At around 9am on 14 February 2006, elements of the city police (GUS) and the National Police threw a security cordon opposite the entrance to the building housing the offices of Le Journal Hebdomadaire in Casablanca. Questioned about it, police officers said it had been set up because of a planned demonstration due to take place in the morning ‘because of the publication by Le Journal Hebdomadaire of cartoons of the Prophet’. Morocco / Western SaharaMiddle East – North Africa NSO Group hasn’t kept its promises on human rights, RSF and other NGOs saycenter_img Reporters Without Borders has appealed for calm after hostile demonstrations were staged in Morocco on 14 February 2006, in front of the head offices of Le Journal Hebdomadaire after the spread of malicious rumours that it had published the cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.”We express our solidarity with Le Journal Hebdomadaire, target of a campaign of vilification. Making false accusations against this paper, particularly in the current political context, is unwise and dangerous,” said Reporters Without Borders. “We urge the Moroccan authorities to calm things down after the recent events that have shaken the Arab world.”In its 11 February 2006 edition, Le Journal Hebdomadaire carried a photo from Agence France-presse (AFP) showing a reader of France Soir holding a copy containing the 12 Danish cartoons. The photo was to illustrate a chronology of events in a 10-page report, “The Prophet Mohammed: the symbol, the passions” in which opinions were given by eminent experts on Islamic politics and religious imagery. Despite the fact that the cartoons in the picture were minuscule (each one was no more than 3mm across), the management of Le Journal Hebdomadaire decided before the magazine was even printed, to avoid any chance of it being made us of or hijacked in any way, to obliterate the cartoons with indelible ink before they reached the newsstands.On 13 February 2006, public TV channels 2M and TVM reported on their evening news broadcasts that there was a “demonstration” in front of the parliament in Rabat against “the publication of the cartoons of the prophet by Le Journal Hebdomadaire”. The “demonstrators” who were shouting slogans against the weekly were not identified in the report. Neither TV channel at any time contacted Le Journal Hebdomadaire to get its version of events or its reaction.The commentator on 2M said that “this newspaper is known for clashing with public opinion by taking up stances contrary to the sacred values of our country”. He also said “Le Journal tried to get the demonstration cancelled.” Questioned by Reporters Without Borders, the editor of the magazine said “no journalist on the magazine was even aware of the holding of such an event.”The organisation publishes extensive extracts from the statement by Le Journal Hebdomadaire, in reply to the demonstrations which were held in front of parliament and its offices on 13 and 14 February 2006:”We believe it is incitement to hatred with the objective of misinforming public opinion and to expose Le Journal Hebdomadaire to popular outrage in a particularly explosive context. On its side and in the same vein, the London-based pan-Arab Acharq Al Awsat carried in its 13 February 2006 (n°9939) an article headlined ‘A Moroccan magazine insists on publishing images injurious to Islam’. This article also accuses Le Journal Hebdomadaire of clashing head-on with Moroccan’s sacred values. Help by sharing this information Receive email alerts RSF joins Middle East and North Africa coalition to combat digital surveillance News to go further April 28, 2021 Find out more February 15, 2006 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Angry demonstrators mob Le journal hebdomadaire over controversial cartoons News Newslast_img read more