#IndexAwards2017: Maati Monjib and the cost of free speech in Morocco
A well-known academic at the University of Rabat, Maati Monjib co-founded Freedom Now to campaign for free expression in Morocco, and now faces persecution
30 Mar 17
Moroccan historian and journalist Maati Monjib

Moroccan historian and journalist Maati Monjib stands outside the headquarters of a human rights group in Rabat. Monjib, a critic of the country's leadership, has been charged with trying to destabilize the state. International human rights groups have spoken out on his behalf.


2017 Freedom of Expression Awards linkA well-known academic who teaches African studies and political history at the University of Rabat since returning from exile, Maati Monjib co-founded Freedom Now, a coalition of Moroccan human rights defenders who seek to promote the rights of Moroccan activists and journalists in a country ranked 131 out of 180 on the Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index. His work campaigning for press freedom – including teaching investigative journalism workshops and using of a smartphone app called Story Maker designed to support citizen journalism – has made him a target for the authorities who insist that this work is the exclusive domain of state police. For his persistent efforts, Monjib is currently on trial for “undermining state security” and “receiving foreign funds.” He faces much persecution by police and isn’t allowed to travel.

“We lead an everyday struggle to defend citizens, journalists and artists who are persecuted and slandered,” Monjib told Index on Censorship.

Monjib has twice been on hunger strike, in September and October 2015, resulting in the lifting of his ban on leaving the country. A ban was also lifted on three of his co-accused, two leaving for France and one for Holland, who now continue their struggle for freedom of expression and freedom of the press in their host countries.

In November 2016, the Administrative Court decided that Freedom Now is completely legal. On the same day, a dozen policemen, two in uniform, broke into Monjib’s home and harassed family members and neighbours.

See the full shortlist for Index on Censorship’s Freedom of Expression Awards 2017 here.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row full_width=”stretch_row_content” equal_height=”yes” el_class=”text_white” css=”.vc_custom_1490258749071{background-color: #cb3000 !important;}”][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_custom_heading text=”Support the Index Fellowship.” font_container=”tag:p|font_size:28|text_align:center” use_theme_fonts=”yes” link=”|||”][vc_column_text]

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By Ryan McChrystal

Assistant Online Editor at Index on Censorship Ryan McChrystal is Assistant Editor, Online at Index on Censorship, where he provides support for the news and online team in addition to creating content. He has previously held various editorial roles, including as a local reporter, a market reporter and most recently as a features writer at an SME-focused magazine. He graduated in history and politics from Queen’s University, Belfast. Contact: [email protected] | public key