Photo credit: Morocco World News.
March 31, 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: Morocco World News
The ministry also reported that seven COVID-19 patients have died in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of deaths related to the epidemic in Morocco to 33.
Key Background: Old age is also a major factor in the death rate. The average age of those who died due to the coronavirus is 66 years, while the average age for all patients is 52 years.
Why this is newsworthy: COVID-19 coverage dominates all news cycles at the moment, including those in Morocco. The rising number of cases in Morocco indicated either that the virus is poorly contained or that testing in being made more widely available, or both. This story contained little background on the virus itself or the history of the virus in Morocco, indicating that a reader would likely already have heard of the virus and be following its spread.
Source: The Independent
Key Background: Prayer is one of the “five pillars” of Islam, performed five times a day by the devout, but enjoined as a communal activity at noon on Fridays. But with the rapid spread of Covid-19 across the globe, some governments have suspended communal prayers or closed mosques entirely, leaving many of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims to pray at home, at work, in parks or in the street.
Why this is newsworthy: Straddling the line between hard news and news feature, this story combines a viral moment with a human angle to a global crisis. The communal nature of Islamic events and practices in Morocco is being reshaped as the government bans large gatherings, which forces worshippers to rethink their routines. This is a clear, human example of how the virus has stitched itself into every fabric of life in Morocco and elsewhere.
Lede: The European Union pledged 450 million euros in aid to help Morocco counter the coronavirus, a joint EU-Moroccan statement said on Friday.
Key Background: The EU will offer 150 million euros immediately to a special fund created by Morocco to respond to the coronavirus, while the rest will be allocated to help Morocco meet financial challenges relating to the pandemic, it said.
Why this is newsworthy: This article is hardly more than a press release, but despite its brevity, it indicates a relationship between the EU and Morocco that is unique. The article does not indicate that the EU is offering similar financial aid to other North African countries; Morocco has a special relationship with the EU that has been developed recently through migration deals. The article is also very vague on what exactly the funds will be used for, and why Morocco requested them.