Head of Morocco's broadcasting authority sacked

AFP , Friday 11 May 2012

Chief Moroccan broadcasting boss loses job over disagreements regarding regulation measures which include calling for prayers on television and banning gambling advertisements

Morocco's King Mohammed VI on Friday sacked the president of the country's top broadcasting panel, following disputes over new measures regulating television broadcasts, MAP news agency reported.

"Mrs Amina Lamrini El Ouahabi has been named" head of the Superior Council for Audiovisual Communication (CSCA) in place of Mohammed Ghazali, MAP said. The CSCA is a body that forms part of the High Authority for Communications and the Audiovisual sector (HACA).

The new appointment comes amid clashes over the adoption by the HACA on March 31 of new measures which included calling on the two public television stations to broadcast the five Islamic calls to prayer, banning advertising for gambling games, proposing a new schedule for programmes in French and a change of time for the evening news.

Several Moroccan papers on Friday said in editorials that Ghazali was paying for the new measures with his head.

Communications Minister Mustapha El Khalfi, an Islamist, has made the banning of gambling advertisements on television a key theme of his project to reform the audiovisual sector.

The new measures were due to take effect as of May 1 but in light of protests, including from within the government, their implementation has been indefinitely postponed.

Sports Minister Mohamed Ouzzine, who is also head of the board of governors of the Moroccan gaming and sports council, has criticised Khalfi's approach, arguing that he is a "minister of communication and not a mufti or a (theologian) who bans and authorises."

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