The hostile reaction of the Moroccan media to the presence of Brahim Ghali at Ticad 8

The hostile reaction of the Moroccan media to the presence of Brahim Ghali at Ticad 8

Since the leader of the Polisario Front, Brahim Ghali, participated in the Tokyo International Conference on Development in Africa (Ticad 8), which took place on August 27 and 28, 2022 in Tunis, several Moroccan media have decided to attack the Presidency of the Republic and the Tunisian people.

The images of the official welcome reserved for Brahim Ghali at Tunis-Carthage airport by the head of state, Kaïs Saïed, initially drew the ire of Moroccan diplomacy. The Kingdom has immediately decided to boycott the summit. A Moroccan press release published on 26 August 2022 accuses Tunisia of hostility towards the kingdom and adopted a speech based on accusations of undermining Morocco’s integrity.

After aggressively expressing its point of view, Moroccan diplomacy opened the door for hundreds of Moroccan media, and even other foreign countries, to multiply aggressions and attacks on the Republic of Tunisia in the first place and on its people afterwards.

Thus, an article confirming Japanese opposition to the Polisario Front’s participation in Ticad 8 was published by the Israeli media “i24”. The first sentence of the published text is as follows: “Japan and several African countries have expressed their rejection and condemnation of the Polisario Front’s participation in the Eighth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 8)”. However, the rest of the text does not agree with this claim. The Japanese had explained that the participation of an entity not recognized by the country as an independent state in meetings related to Ticad 8, including the top officials’ meeting and the summit, did not affect Japan’s position on the status of that entity. It is simply a confirmation of non-modification of Japan’s political and diplomatic position regarding the recognition of the Polisario Front.

The same article claimed that Guinea-Bissau President Umaro Sissoco Embalo withdrew and left the summit due to the participation of the Polisario Front. This information was quickly rejected, as the delegation from this country participated in all Ticad’s work, and its president was present during the official ceremony. Other commitments had forced him to leave Tunisia before the end of the conference.

Of course, the Moroccan media participated in this sad staging. They contented themselves with disseminating false information that cast doubt on the success of Ticad 8, such as the claims of Umaro Sissoco Embalo’s opposition to the participation of the Polisario Front. Far be it from us to dream of a denial on this subject, we expected a little correction that any self-respecting media institution was worthy of. Alas, this did not happen!

The Moroccan media did not stop at these simple claims. They have even become the initiators of these harassment and attack campaigns on Tunisia. They began a weekend of insults and attacks directed at the head of state, Kaïs Saïed. In turn, they have accused him of political amateurism and of the inability to govern the country. They even gave themselves the right to call him a puppet and man of the land with the Algerian power in place and the Algerian president Abdelmajid Tebboune. Several cartoons were published in which they took up this idea and openly insulted one of the institutions of the Tunisian Republic.

Little by little they allowed themselves several deviations and published and disseminated articles in total opposition to journalistic ethics. A large part of these articles were devoid of official sources and only confirmed without foundation false information or rumors regarding the position of certain African leaders in relation to the presence of the Polisario Front. The latter would also have criticized Kaïs Saïed’s position and would have questioned his leadership and his common sense.

The Moroccan media sank into ridicule and tried to turn the participation of the Polisario Front into a genuine Tunisian betrayal. They multiplied the special bulletins that recalled the provision of aid or Tunisian-Moroccan cooperation and confirmed that the Kingdom of Morocco had always considered Tunisia a friendly country. A real speech of sacrifice, almost reminiscent of their Zionist partner, quite talented in the matter!

the Moroccan media seems to forget that Tunisia never dared to criticize their diplomatic decision. The Republic of Tunisia did not respond to normalization with the Zionist entity. It had had the cowardice to bomb civilian targets on Tunisian territory. Did the Moroccan media wonder about the image their country reflected by normalizing with Tunisia’s aggressor? Tunisia, for its part, did not interfere because it was a Moroccan diplomatic choice. The Tunisian media had contented itself with respecting this measure.

The aggressiveness of the Moroccans was not limited to the unjustified reaction of the Moroccan media. Even the sports scene had been involved in the affair. A predictable position in such a dictatorship. Everyone must submit to the king’s will at all costs and contribute actively to the national effort aimed at influencing Tunisia’s image. The Royal Moroccan Karate Federation, for example, announced a boycott of the North African championship because it was held in Tunisia. This event was scheduled to take place from 7 to 11 September 2022. Another surprising fact, Meknes Omnisports Club (CODM) had announced that they will not participate in the Arab Women’s Club Championship. The latter will take place in Nabeul from 20 to 28 September 2022. These teams have chosen to deprive athletes of practicing their favorite discipline and why not shine at the continental level due to the simple presence of Brahim Ghali at Ticad 8. We wonder about the absence of such a reaction following the latter’s participation in Ticad 6 in Nairobi, Kenya?

The controversy that the Moroccan media has provoked after Brahim Ghali’s participation in Ticad 8 can only be considered exaggerated. They contributed to complicating the situation and to exacerbating the tensions that prevailed between the two countries. The adoption of a hostile rhetoric by Moroccan diplomacy has only encouraged them to multiply attacks directed at the Tunisian Republic and its institutions. As a reaction isThe National Union of Tunisian Journalists (SNJT) had criticized the attitude of the Moroccan media, which had launched a campaign targeting Tunisia due to the participation of the leader of the Polisario Front, Brahim Ghali in Ticad. SNAP called on national media to handle these campaigns responsibly. He believed that the media should convey the facts and explain them to the receiver with objectivity and accuracy, in addition to defending the vital interests of the country and its sovereignty.

Sophie Ghoubantini

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