Access to Rabat: De Jure Policies and De Facto Realities in Moroccan Newspaper Coverage of the February 20 Movement and Constitutional Reforms, 2011–2012

Bradley C. Freeman


This article observes Moroccan newspaper coverage surrounding the February 20 movement and subsequent constitutional reforms. Taking various aspects of the media landscape into account, I examine the similarities and differences in three newspapers’ patterns of coverage concerning these two important historical events. The study relies on framing theory and notions of the public sphere to inform a descriptive content analysis of newspaper coverage. Findings indicate that the papers treaded carefully in the early days as the movement coalesced; that there was an oppositional voice developing; and that coverage quickly shifted toward the king’s speech, which offered up constitutional reforms ―providing a safer focus for which the newspapers could then offer a forum and which they could more carefully cover. One newspaper associated with the monarchy, Le Matin, never mentioned the February 20 movement in its coverage of events during this historic period.


Morocco, newspapers, February 20 movement, constitutional reform, Arab Spring, Le Matin, Attajdid, Al Massae

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