Photo credit: Morocco World News
March 5, 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
Lede: The novel Coronavirus outbreak has severely impacted exports from and to China, including green tea.
Key Background: The president of The Moroccan association of tea and coffee manufacturers (AMITC), Mohamed Astaib announced that Morocco has imported a stock of tea that is sufficient for the next six months as a preventive measure.
Meanwhile, the Moroccan economy may profit from the decline in agricultural exports from China. The head of Russia’s Food Products Manufacturers and Suppliers, Dmitry Vostrikov, spoke on February 6 about the possibility of replacing Chinese produce in Russia by importing from Morocco.
Why this is newsworthy: This story, in addition to showing the increased panic about the coronavirus, starts to examine the economic implications of the virus. It implies that there could eve be positive implications for Morocco economically.
Lede: The U.S. State Department has approved a possible foreign military sale to Morocco of twenty-five M88 Hercules armored recovery vehicles, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced Tuesday in a news release.
Key background: For the record, Morocco was the biggest MENA region customer for American arms in 2019, according to data compiled by the Forum on the Arms Trade from the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program and relayed by Forbes.
Why this is newsworthy: This story has implications for the relationship between the United States and Morocco, as well as raising questions about why Morocco is purchasing more weaponry at all.
Source: Al Jazeera
Lede: A Moroccan writer and activist is due to appear at a court in Casablanca for a second hearing in a trial that rights groups said was emblematic of what they called a broad crackdown on freedom of speech in the North African country.
Key background: Radi was arrested in Casablanca on December 26 over a tweet he had posted in April last year in which he criticised a judge who had imposed maximum sentences on protesters from the poverty-stricken Rif region. Radi had called the judge a “henchman” who “carried out orders” from higher up.
Why this is newsworthy: In addition to discussing Radi’s situation, the article reviews other instances of potential human rights violations in Morocco. Radi’s prosecution reflects increasing worry about the future of freedom of speech and journalism.