x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

Moroccan protest for economic rights

Many Sahrawi sources believe the exodus to the Layoune camp will continue because of the impact it has had in the media.

In a news report, the London-based newspaper Al Quds al Arabi quoted the Moroccan minister of communications, Khaled Naciri, as saying that the camp put up by a group of citizens at the outskirt of Layoune in the Sahara was an expression of social and economic demands. It is a normal event in a country like Morocco known for its openness and democracy, he said.

"The government is seriously engaged in addressing the problems of these citizens. The government, while it sympathises with their legitimate demands, is undertaking normal dialogue with these citizens in order to find suitable solutions."

The protesters number 12,000. They demanded the government to offer them adequate housing, jobs and health care.

Moroccan officials argued that the demands of protesters in Layoune do not differ from protests in other regions in Morocco, overruling the political aspect of the issue. But many Sahrawi sources believe the exodus to the camp will continue because of the impact it has had in the media.

According to the Moroccan online newspaper Hespress, most of the protesters came from poor quarters of the city and their demands was for social and economic change. It reported that another camp was forming in Al Marsa, 20 kilometres southeast of Layoune. Both camps were being monitored by military troops and police forces.

 

Hamas and Fatah back at loggerheads

Hopes for achieving reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah were short-lived, as the supposedly last and decisive round of talks between the two sides scheduled on September 20 in Damascus was postponed until further notice, wrote Areeb al Rantawi in a commentary for the Jordanian daily Addustoor.

The reason for the delay was that Fatah would like to change the place of the meeting, whereas Hamas opposed this. According to news reports, there was an argument between the Syrian president Bashar Assad and the president of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas on the sidelines of the Arab League summit in Sirte, Libya, about issues related to resistance, negotiations and security. As a result, Mr Abbas reportedly requested to hold the meeting in Beirut, or anywhere else.

This was condemned by Hamas, which described  it as a "pretext" for Fatah to withdraw from previous agreements, and thus both parties were engaged in an endless exchange of blame and accusations.

According to several sources, a message from the US and Israel warned top Palestinian officials in Ramallah against changing the security policy in the West Bank in which Hamas remains under the control of the security coordination between the Israeli military and the Palestinian Authority forces. The objective was to distance Hamas from Fatah.

 

Controlling news on referendum in Sudan

News on sensitive national issues should not be the only issues subject to stringent censorship, wrote Satea Nouredine in an opinion piece for the Lebanese daily Assafir.

Reports on the Sudanese referendum, for example, need to be checked for accuracy as they come from various sources. Most Arab media outlets put this issue at the top of its headlines on a par with other pressing Arab questions, such as the Palestinian cause, Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen.

This was a conscious editorial decision because most Arab media were aware of the fact that Sudan and the Arab world will soon face a new historical event and a strategic political change even before southerners go to vote in January. Voters will have to choose whether to support the union or to separate from the North and declare an independent state in the South. The latter event is likely.

Unchecked news on this issue represents, therefore, a threat to the stability and security in various Arab countries. This requires that censorship authorities to direct the public to understand the objective facts about the referendum.  

Censorship – although it is not the only solution – can lessen the effects  of the likely independence of the South of Sudan because the newly born republic might incite other minorities within Arab countries to follow suit.

 

Kuwait needs stricter law enforcement 

In an opinion piece for the Kuwaiti newspaper Al Jareeda, Abdullah al Mesfer denounced the abuse of democracy in Kuwait in light of the attack on the privately-owned channel Scope TV.

The author criticised the democratic malpractice of media outlets in Kuwait that were involved in defamation. This prompted an unexpected reaction like the storming of the Scope TV offices by an angry crowd.

"Kuwaitis have been wrong in how they interpret freedom of expression and democracy because they think liberty means they can do anything they wish at any time. They also believe that encroaching on others' space is still under the realm of freedom of opinion, democracy and dialogue.

"If the law is a term that has a particular impact on all people across the globe, meaning justice and equality, in Kuwait it has different effect, like an old fairy tale."

In a country like Kuwait, which is endowed with well-established institutions, the law should not be seen as a luxury or a dilemma. And now because of risky deviations, it is imperative more than ever to abide by the letter of the law to achieve justice in order to avoid falling into a lawless situation.

* Digest compiled by Mostapha El Mouloudi

melmouloudi@thenational.ae