Draft bill on social media creates controversy in Morocco
The draft decree incriminates calls for consumer boycotts on social media, but government sources said the draft text is being edited before it is submitted to the vote of the parliament. Meanwhile rejections are mounting on social media and also among some political parties, including the Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM), the Party of Progress and Socialism (PPS) and the Istiqlal Party, which have denounced the adoption of the text while Morocco is going through a difficult context because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
These parties expressed opposition to the bill, arguing it undermines the freedoms and the gains made by the Moroccan people over the years.
Leaked excerpts show the text stipulates prison sentences from 6 months to one year and fines ranging from 5000 to 50,000 dirhams.
Other punishable crimes under the text include inciting citizens to empty their deposits from banks.
This draft text comes in response to an unprecedented consumer boycott campaign that targeted in 2018 three products- a diary company, a fuel distributor, and a bottled water brand- causing losses to these companies.
A source told le 360 news website that the boycott campaign, which targeted national producers such as the fuel company Afriquia, might have been instigated by parties interested in undermining the national economy.
The boycott campaign supporters however demanded lower prices, better competition environment and an end to oligopoly. The campaign also resurrected a debate over fuel prices and the profit margins of fuel distributors especially after Morocco lifted subsidies on petrol and diesel.
Another government source told le 360 that the wording and content of the draft text is under review by a technical committee.