IFJ Backs Union Protests against Restrictions on Moroccan Journalists in Spanish City of Melillia

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

the city."

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,"

added White.

For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32

2 235 22 07

 The IFJ represents more than 600.000 members in 125 countries