Photo credit: AFP.
March 3, 2020.
Three stories you need to read today. Compiled and broken down for you by Reporting Morocco student journalists — every day. Brought to you from the School for International Training’s journalism program, Rabat.
Source: Middle East Eye
Lede: Morocco has reported its first case of coronavirus as the illness continues to spread across the Middle East and North Africa.
The health ministry said the virus had been detected in a Moroccan man living in Italy who had returned to his home country.
Key Background: The number of deaths from the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, has reached 3,110 globally, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). Over 90,000 people have been infected worldwide since it first emerged in China’s Hubei province in December.
Why this is newsworthy: Coronavirus has caused a global panic, and Morocco is one of the latest nations to catch it. Morocco’s handling of a potential outbreak could be viewed as a reflection of its public health and healthcare system. Fear of the virus might also cause economic strain, travel problems and canceled events.
Lede: The 2019 edition of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) report on drugs reveals that Morocco has reported the largest seizures of cannabis and cannabis resin in the region alongside Nigeria.
Key Background: According to data compiled by the annual report conducted by the United Nations, Morocco seized in 2018 almost 72 tons of cannabis resin and 252 tons of majoun, which is a «consumable product mostly of cannabis but that can also include other drugs, along with puppy seeds and other foodstuff».
Why this is newsworthy: Much of Morocco’s conversations about migration and the border are related to the drug trafficking industry. This reporting indicates that Morocco’s illegal drug industry remains strong despite government efforts to combat its growth.
Source: Pulitzer Center
Lede: CASABLANCA—Ibtissam remembers the laughter, the music, the henna-stained hands of the women lined up to welcome a newlywed couple in her neighbor’s home in Safi, a city in Western Morocco: “It felt like a party.”
The negafa, a woman who attends to a bride’s needs during a wedding, announced the bride and groom’s arrival into the home—leading the couple into a small bedroom. Soon after, the mother of the bride knocked and entered the bedroom, then paraded out a blood-stained bed sheet. The house burst into a celebration of the new bride’s newly lost virginity.
Nut Graf: Despite the North African country’s desire to portray itself as a modern society, global disparities in women’s health education are especially pronounced in Morocco. Virginity tests are employed to assess the virtue and social value of women and girls, presenting a double standard; males are often lauded for engaging in premarital sex—while females are ostracized.
Why this is newsworthy: This article, published by a journalism nonprofit, explains both the damaging effects of virginity testing and the potential protections that it can bring for young women. Virginity and virginity testing are the center of conversations worldwide about gender and sexism, as well as purity and religion. In this article, we can see several manifestations of this conversation and how it effects young women’s perceptions of sex and sexual practice.