Journalist Ali Lmrabet challenges Moroccan regime by publishing a new online newspaper from Barcelona
Lmrabet was sent to jail in 2003 for writing about Morocco’s king and his supposed real estate interests. He was also banned from media. Finally he has created ‘Demain’, an online newspaper directed from Barcelona. It has the same name as the publication he had in Morocco, which was shut down by King Mohammed VI’s regime.
Barcelona (ACN).- For some time now, Moroccan journalist Ali Lmrabet, resident in Barcelona, has been trying to create a media outlet in Morocco. This is not an easy aim considering that he was sent to jail for 8 months in 2003 for writing about King Mohammed VI’s supposed real estate interests, so the Moroccan justice prohibited him any collaboration with the media for ten years. His way out has been the publication of an online journal called ‘Demain’ (www.demainonline.com), the same name of the journal he edited in Morocco and that was closed down by Mohamed VI’s regime. Lmrabet, the only visible leader of the new online journal at the moment, told ACN he has “no fear” against possible retaliations from the Moroccan Government.
Even though Lmrabet keeps his Moroccan nationality “for a question of principles”, he lives between Morocco and Barcelona since he left the prison in 2004 because his wife and two sons are Catalans. Currently, he publishes and administrates his online journal ‘Demain’ from the Catalan capital and Casablanca, helped by three more professionals who prefer to remain anonymous. “The three journalists that collaborate in the journal are afraid because of their economic, social and daily situation. But I am not afraid anymore as all we aim to do is publishing a journal, just like in any other western media”, explained Lmrabet in an interview with CNA.
In 2003 the Regime closed down his journal ‘Demain’, and prohibited him from practicing journalism in Morocco for a decade after having supposedly put “territorial integrity at risk”. Now eight years later, in a time of supposed openness of the Moroccan regime, the journalist has taken the chance of creating and publishing an online journal addressed to francophone Moroccans. Despite this, the website server is administered from the USA.
New media coincides with unrest in the Arab world
The idea began in March 2010, explains Lmrabet, but the project did not start until a year later. The trigger for making up his mind to create the online journal was the Arab world unrest in favor of democracy, which also arrived to Morocco with huge demonstrations.
“The idea is to accompany the student and pacific revolts, usually ignored by official media, even the ones supposed to be free”, he explained. As an example, “it was often said that King Mohammed VI’s figure was never questioned, but we have proved that in lots of Moroccan cities, the people want the Regime to fall just as in Egypt, Yemen or Syria”, assured the Moroccan journalist.
The website has 20,000 daily visits already, according to Lmrabet and draws on both regular and occasional columnists that send both text and video. However, economic survival is not easy, says the journalist.
Ali Lmrabet’s project is not the only one of this kind put into action over the last few months in Morocco. The Monarchy’s announcement about the openness of the Regime has caused other professionals vetoed by the Government to come out of the darkness. Such is the case of Lacome.com, a website administered by the former editor of ‘Le Journal Hebdomadaire, a journal closed down last year.