UNESCO supports civil society groups to advance freedom of information in Morocco
Within the framework of UNESCO’s action to promote freedom of information and access to public domain information, the UNESCO Rabat Office, in partnerships with Transparency Morocco, held a conference on 20 October 2011 on freedom of information (FOI) in Morocco. The conference brought together representatives from civil society groups, media organizations, governmental representatives, cooperation agencies and international organizations to assess the progress made in Morocco for the recognition of the freedom of information right and to discuss future steps for its effective implementation.
The new Moroccan Constitution, adopted by referendum on 1 July this year, clearly stipulates in its Article 27 the right to access to public information held by public bodies for all citizens.
For UNESCO, who has been promoting access to public domain information since several years through its reference texts such as the 2003 Recommendation concerning the promotion and use of multilingualism and universal access to cyberspace and the 2004 Policy guidelines for the development and promotion of governmental public domain information, this legislative progress represents a major achievement and reflects the Moroccan government’s strong commitment to engage in a sustainable reform of its society.
New steps now need to be taken to ensure the effective implementation of this right to improve people’s daily lives. These were the main topics for discussion during the conference.
Finally UNESCO took this opportunity to launch its study, entitled Vers un droit d’accès à l’information publique au Maroc (Towards freedom of information in Morocco). The study takes stock of the progress and weakness of FOI in Morocco, and suggests main reform projects in alignment with international standards and best practices in a view to meet the ambition announced in the new Moroccan Constitution.