Lesson Plans

Press Freedom and Media Integrity in Morocco [15 minutes]

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A customer talks to the vendor of a newsstand in Morocco’s capital. Very few publications in Morocco offer critical reporting of the government or the royal family, which uses a system of economic oppression to control what is published. Image by Jackie Spinner. Morocco, 2017.

A customer talks to the vendor of a newsstand in Morocco’s capital. Very few publications in Morocco offer critical reporting of the government or the royal family, which uses a system of economic oppression to control what is published. Image by Jackie Spinner. Morocco, 2017.

1. What is the media? Take 30 seconds to define the term to a partner.

2. Read the following Dictionary.com definition as a class:

[T]he means of communication, as radio and television, newspapers, magazines, and the Internet, that reach or influence people widely.

Is the dictionary definition the same as the one you discussed? If not, what was different, and why do you think that might be?

3. On a post-it note, write a phrase to fill in the following blank: “The role of the media is ____.” When you are finished, pin it to the board at the front of the class. Share a few answers with the class.

4. Divide into five groups, each of which will be responsible for reading and reporting on one section of the article. Take 3-5 minutes to read with your group. Be prepared to share how the Moroccan media is being impeded from fulfilling its role according to your section.

5. Discuss:

  • What is self-censorship? What is leading journalists to self-censor in Morocco? What could lead you to self-censor in your own life?
  • The article quotes Professor El Kadooussi saying, “Citizens have noticeably migrated to the digital space, which actually offers myriad less-constrained venues and platforms for criticism and investigation.” What are the benefits of using social media for controversial reporting and conversation? What are the drawbacks?
  • Spinner writes, “The problem is exacerbated by how media are funded and supported in Morocco. Businesses with ties to the monarchy control the advertising dollars that fund the news outlets. When a news outlet publishes content that is considered unfavorable or critical of the government, advertisers pull out.” How are the media you consume funded? What do you think their funding sources can tell you about them?
  • The article quotes translator and magazine founder Achraf El Bahi saying, “For anything to change, for media integrity, it’s going to be the job of civil society. Journalism in Morocco needs people willing to support it.” How are the roles of the media and citizens interrelated? What problems do you see with the media in your community? What can you do to support change and integrity?
Educator Notes: 

Discussion questions can alternatively be used as prompts for an in-class writing exercise or for an essay assignment.

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