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Mr. Mounir Bensalah stresses the need to open a public debate on freedom of opinion and expression in the digital space

Mr. Mounir Bensalah, Secretary-General of the National Human Rights Council (CNDH), took part in the opening of the First National Forum for Collective Media in Morocco, organized on the occasion of the World Radio Day by the Alternatives Forum in Morocco (known in French as Forum des Alternatives Maroc) on 12 and 13 February 2022 in Rabat, Morocco.

In his statement, Mr. Bensalah highlighted the importance of community radio, which reflects new aspirations and would contribute to the promotion of the national media. He also underlined the particular importance of the freedom of expression question to the CNDH.

Within this context, the CNDH highly recommended in its 2019 annual report to open a public debate on freedom of expression, opinion and press, taking into account the evolution of this issue particularly in the digital space and social media platforms.

Mr. Bensalah indicated that the CNDH organized, in February 2020, wide-ranging consultations with the relevant parties as part of the implementation of the aforementioned recommendation.

He also noted the challenges related to this issue such as the difficulty of expanding the digital space and enabling everyone to access the internet, regulating it, applying the legal provisions in force, and protecting public opinion from media misinformation, rapid spread of fake news, and using these spaces to violate human rights.

Mr. Bensalah shed light on the “digital expressions” platform launched by the CNDH to receive opinions and contributions of experts and citizens on this subject. He also indicated that the CNDH President noted that the right to freedom of expression is a fundamental right in itself and a right that enables the implementation of other rights and freedoms (…). New forms of freedom of expression, particularly digital ones, are considered an emerging model for public freedoms in Morocco.

On the other hand, Mr. Bensalah emphasized the 2020 CNDH annual report recommendations, mainly the ones related to:
- Strengthening judicial and non-judicial remedies for citizens concerning technology and artificial intelligence;
- Opening a public debate on the protection of human rights in the field of technology and artificial intelligence;
- Strengthening the regulation and governance of the advertising market, promoting media education, strengthening basic and continuous training, and developing its mechanisms.

This forum aims to strengthen the associative media network in Morocco and address its issues. Representatives of national media institutions, university professors, experts, associative and media actors took part in this event.

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