Monday, January 08, 2007

Jail for writing an article about jokes? This is not funny

A Moroccan magazine editor accused of defaming Islam and damaging morality by printing articles about religious jokes has defended his position in court today.
An article published in Nichane magazine looked at popular jokes on religion, sex and politics (sounds very interesting to me)
The magazine's editor Driss Ksikes, who is on trial in Casablanca with magazine journalist Sanaa al-Aji, denied the articles were intended to be offensive.
This is very scary. Increasingly, trying to express liberal views in the Middle East is becoming as hard as trying to legalize prostitution in Saudi Arabia.
The prosecutor said journalists had to balance liberties with responsibilities and urged sentences of three to five years.
I think what the prosecutor actually meant was that censorship will be applied on anyone who dares to question taboos and that liberties will be curtailed and if you don’t like it, you’re screwed.
The verdict is expected later this month.
The two journalists, Ksikes and Al Aji are supported by international organisations such as Reporters Without Frontiers, which says this is a serious blow for press freedom.
I find it really disgusting that they are not supported by almost anyone in Morocco or in other Arab countries.
The governments are giving in to the fundamentalists. They are playing a very dangerous appeasing game.
People who have liberal views in Arab countries these days have two choices: either play it safe and shut up or go to jail.
Even bloggers in many Arab countries get intimidated and jailed if they cross the line. Not good.

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