CSO and the Media Working Together in Morocco

Dates: 6 – 8 February 2015

Country: Morocco

Morocco_HomelessHalid ended up on the streets of Casablanca when he was 8. He was a child when his mother died unexpectedly. While Halid is telling his story to a journalist and an activist from Moroccan civil society organization, other homeless people start to gather. They want to tell their stories too. And they also want a sip of milk that is shared amongst them.

Halid’s story was heard after Abdelali who works as a journalist and Hamza, an activist for MADA Centre, joined their forces in giving an opportunity to people whose voice is missing from the media. They went on the streets of Casablanca and talked to the people who are rarely heard in the media, like the young homeless people are. The article they submitted was a result of the joint CSO-Media workshop organized by the Media Diversity Institute (MDI) in partnership with Association Jeunes pour Jeunes (AJJ) on 6 – 8 February 2015.

Morocco_Ait_Haddou_Youssef_2Working as a team, Karima and Anas, an activist from the south of Morocco and an enthusiastic journalist, wrote a story about the widows in Ait Haddou Youssef, “the village that smells of poverty”. Karima, a CSO representative and one of the participants at MDI workshop, provided crucial information and the testimonies of some of the habitants in the village known for its copper mine and high death rate due to mine-related illnesses. She illustrated not only a need for the joint work between civil society organisations and the media, but also she demonstrated how to get the reporters interested in the cause that activists believe in and fight for.

Other examples of the joint CSO and media work include the stories on disabled young people from the south of Morocco, as well as on immigrants and the portray of the web activist Morthada who, as explained by one of the CSO-Media teams at the workshop in Casablanca, is a very influential blogger and online activist whose words and moderate religious believes don’t match his traditional look.

The article titled “God Loves You and I Do Too” proved ,  as concluded by the participants and trainers, Moroccan journalist Rachid El Belghiti and MDI Communications Manager Dasha Ilic, how much the stereotyping is present in the media and how much we all need to work to deconstruct them and avoid them.

The joint CSO-Media workshop has been organised as a part of the MDI project “Promoting Freedom of Expression, Diversity and Inclusion in Morocco” supported by the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation.