Media development assessment kicks off in Morocco

UNESCO has launched the process of carrying out a comprehensive assessment of the media landscape in Morocco, using its Media Development Indicators (MDIs). The project was launched on Friday 17 October at an information session organized by the UNESCO Office in Rabat for the Members of the Advisory Committee.

To conduct the assessment, UNESCO has set up an independent research team comprising of Ms Dima Dabbous, the lead international researcher, and Mr Ahmed Hidass, Mr Driss Ksikes and Mr Bouziane Zaid as the national expert team.

Through a comprehensive study of the media landscape in Morocco, the project aims at presenting key findings and recommendations with a view to defining an environment conducive to freedom of expression, media independence and pluralism.

It is in such a context that the media can best contribute towards, and benefit from, good governance and democratic development.
At the launch of the project, the research team underlined the relevance of using the MDIs in Morocco.

Ms Dima Dabbous, the lead expert, stated: “In comparison to other methodologies used for evaluating press freedom, UNESCO's indicators provide a comprehensive framework. This allows us not only to analyze texts of laws and regulations but also to promote their translation into reality as this is where there are gaps in most of the Arab countries.”

During the discussions, civil society groups expressed their appreciation of the inclusiveness of the process and their involvement in the Advisory Committee. They expressed the hope that the UNESCO report would document some legal cases concerning freedom of expression, the constraints encountered in practice, and the degree of transparency of media ownership and concentration in Morocco.

They also underlined the need for instruments to implement the recommendations that will come out of the report.

Ms Meriem Khatouri, Director of Studies on Media Development at the Ministry of Communication, expressed her commitment to facilitating access to all relevant Government reports and studies on media.

The MDIs are a tool for constructive dialogue and diagnosis that are intended to assist policy-makers and other stakeholders in their range of decisions on the development of media in the country.

Through a series of focus groups and consultations, the assessment process will also help to raise relevant stakeholders’ awareness of international standards of media development.

The key findings of the Moroccan report and its recommendations will be presented in October 2015.

The UNESCO MDIs were endorsed by its Member States within the framework of the International Programme for the Development of Communication. MDI-based assessments have been carried out or are ongoing in 32 countries around the world.

In the Arab States, Morocco is the fourth country to take advantage of the MDIs, after Tunisia, Egypt and Palestine.

This project in Morocco has been made possible thanks to the support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.