The last week the Moroccan blogosphere and international organisations were busy reporting on a weird case of freedom of speech in Morocco.

The magazine Nichane decided to report on common Moroccan jokes/humor including some on Islam and the king.
These two subjects are of course still taboo in Morocco, taboos for journalists that is.

The Moroccan press witnessed a more open, liberal and free environment in last years but that may have come to an end with this case.

The responsible journalist and editor of Nichane were prosecuted for blasphemy. Telling jokes about Islam is bad, bad I tell you!
The prosecutor asked for 3 to 5 year sentences, a permanent ban on the magazine and a huge fine.
All in name of decency and responsibility (sure)

Today was the verdict. Both the journalist and the editor got a suspended sentence of three years and a fine of $8000.
The magazine is banned but only temporarily for 2 months.

I don't know how to interpret this verdict. In the "old days" these 2 innocent people would have gotten an even harsher sentence, and the magazine would be banned forever.
The verdict, as it is now, is kind of soft. Don't you think?
I mean of course it is ridiculous and stupid to sentence them just because they reported on jokes every Moroccan knows and tells. Its hypocrite.
But the sentence could have been much more worse. The demand of the prosecutor wasn't met completely.

Is this the Moroccan state trying to save its image as the most liberal country in that region?
Or was this verdict part of an electoral campaign of the establishment? Sentence them to show the conservative electorate that we care about Islam. But don't sentence them too harsh because we actually believe in their innocence?

The case isn't over yet, the lawyer of the magazine is going to appeal against the sentence
In the mean time, you can a petition supporting the magazine and its journalists


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