The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today backed its
Moroccan affiliate, the Syndicat national de la presse marocaine(SNPM), which
condemned the Spanish officials in the city of Melillia over the treatment of
two Moroccan cameramen who were briefly detained on the border, questioned
and denied entry in the city along with three journalists travelling with them.
"Restricting movement of journalists on duty without a valid reason is a
violation of their rights," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "The
events in Melillia matter to the Moroccan public and Spanish authorities should
avoid unnecessary action which hinders the work of media covering the events in
According to the SNPM, two cameramen of la Société nationale de
radiodiffusion et de télévision (SNRT), Abderahim El Bouhedioui (2M) et Rachid
Laâtabi (Al Oula), were arrested by border guards in Melillia and questioned at
the police station on the reasons for their visit to the city. Three other
journalists, Badiaâ Zekhnini (SNRT), Azzedine Lamrini (Al Ahdat Al Maghribiya newspaper) and Said Youssi (MAP press agency) had their
passports confiscated by Spanish police. The group was later refused entry and
returned to the Moroccan city of Nador.
One SNPM board member in the city reportedly said the action of Spanish
officials was designed to "frustrate the work of Moroccan journalists,
particularly broadcast reporters, following their coverage of the Spanish
forces' recent clampdown on Moroccan population living in Melillia."
The IFJ says there is a need to facilitate media access to information
in order to prevent rumors and distrust among the public. It also called on journalists
communities in both countries to work together in sharing information and mobilise their efforts to achieve greater
press freedom for their members.
"We call for a thorough investigation into the police action in Melillia,"
For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32
2 235 22 07
The IFJ represents more than 600.000 members in 125 countries