This is a Chapter of the Study “How does the media on both sides of the Mediterranean report on migration?” carried out and prepared by the Ethical Journalism Network and commissioned in the framework of EUROMED Migration IV – a project, financed by the European Union and implemented by ICMPD. © European Union, 2017.
The Invisible People who Should Take their Place on the Media Stage
On 12 September 2005, the regional weekly Achamal (“The North”) ran a front-page headline Black crickets invade the north of Morocco. Four years later, Maroc Hebdo headlined The black peril on the front page of a feature on irregular migration. These two front pages deeply shocked migrants living in Morocco and those who defend the rights of migrants. These professional blunders from a decade ago continue to define how migrants of all origins and their defenders regard media treatment of migration.
At conferences and symposiums on migration-related issues in Morocco, migrants complain about the Moroccan media’s mistakes in its coverage of migration, which they say is dominated by sensationalism and stereotypes. Since 2013, institutional changes, marked by the launch of the national strategy for immigration and asylum, have obliged stakeholders to review their approach and in particular to move beyond these two “original sins” relating to how the media cover migration. While it is unclear whether media treatment is improving, it is certainly true that it is undergoing changes that are worthy of in-depth analysis. Morocco has been a country with a history of migration to Western Europe.
Moroccan migrants settled in France and the Benelux countries from the 1940s onwards. The Moroccan press have covered their movements and the difficulties encountered by the different generations of immigrants in the host countries. Today 11% of Moroccans live outside the kingdom. In theory, at least, the Moroccan media have followed these developments.