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Indicators for Risks to Media Pluralism

Media Audience Concentration

This indicator assesses the concentration of audience and readership across media platforms based on audience share. Concentration is measured by using the 4 most important owners in the nation’s market, based on the aforementioned criteria. Presented are the sums of the audience shares based on the data gathered through the OJD Maroc, the CIAUMED and the CIRAD with the help of the Groupement des Annonceurs du Maroc.

Result: HIGH RISK (59.1%)

Why?
With every sector of the media market highly concentrated, media audience concentration puts a HIGH RISK on media pluralism in Morocco.

The PRINT market shows the highest audience concentration. The Top 4 companies – privately-owned EcoMedias, privately-owned Awal, privately-owned Massae Media, and privately-owned Media21 – together get 73.39% of the readership. Especially concerning is the fact that the two companies EcoMedias and Awal represent almost half of the readership (47.95%). The majority shareholders of EcoMedias (24.71%) are Abdelmoumaïn Dilami and his wife, Marie-Thérèse Borrut, known by her pseudonym Nadia Salah, both university professors and journalists. However, alongside them sits the royal holding group SNI (through its company Global Communication) as well as representative shares to major technocratic figures in the country. Awal Media (23.24%) is owned by Rachid Niny's brother while Massae Media (17.88%) is under ownership of Mohamed Asli, who is known for having directed a couple of Moroccan movies.  Far behind, Media21 (7.56%) is owned by Taoufik Bouachrine, a widely followed journalist who contributed to the creation of Al Massae

The TV market is also highly concentrated, as the 2 most important companies, the State-owned Société National de Radio et de Télévision (SNRT) and the public/private SOREAD represent an audience share of 47.41%. The SNRT operates 80% of the TV channels registered in Morocco. SOREAD is owned by the State at 71%, making the State a main shareholder of both Top TV companies in the country. The third largest TV channel used according to the MOM methodology is Medi1TV. However, no audience data could be retrieved. This concentration of the audience in the TV sector needs to be put in perspective with the fact that half of the audience does not rely on these channels, but rather on satellite TV.

The RADIO market is also highly concentrated with the Top 4 companies gathering 56.60% of the audience. Again, the SNRT (26.73%) has a considerable standing in the market by operating 14 of the 34 licenced radio stations. Other major companies follow with some distance: the Société Audiovisuelle Internationale (Med Radio, 12,34%) is owned by Ahmed Charaï, CEO of Global Media Holding, a media company that owns the daily Al Ahdath Al Maghribiya and its website ahdath.info, the weekly magazine L’Observateur du Maroc & d’Afrique, the trimestral Pouvoirs d’Afrique, the news website Kifache.com, and the feminine website lalamoulati.ma. The MFM network (MFM Radio, 9.65%) belongs to the Lahlou family, who also owns and publishes the business weekly Challenge,  the monthly for men VH Magazine and women’s monthly Lalla Fatima through their companies New Publicity and La Gazette Editions. Finally, La Marocaine de Radio et de Broadcast (Aswat Radio: 7.88%), whose majority shareholder is Thami Ghorfi, director of a leading business school in Morocco and was appointed by the King to sit on the Economic, Social and Environmental Council as an expert. 

For the ONLINE market, data was only available in unique visitors but not as audience share. This inhibited to compute an audience concentration for the online news market. Some of the most popular websites, however, belong to companies that also publish other media outlets, which strengthen their cross-media presence. 

LOW  MEDIUM HIGH 
Audience concentration in television (horizontal): 47.41%
SNRT: Al Aoula (8.67%), Al Maghribia (3.19%) and 'other SNRT channels' (2.46%) = 14.32 %
SOREAD: 2M = 33.09 %
Medi1 TV: NA 

If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have an audience share below 25%.

If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have an audience share between 25% and 49%.

If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have an audience share above 50%.

Audience concentration in radio (horizontal): 56.60 %
SNRT: Radio Mohammed VI du St Coran (14.66%), Al Idaa Al Watanya (6.71 %), Al Idaa Al Amazighia (4.93 %)= 26.73%
SOCIETE AUDIOVISUELLE INTERNATIONALE: Med Radio= 12.34%
MFM: MFM Radio= 9.65%
LA MAROCAINE DE RADIO ET DE BROADCAST: Aswat Radio= 7.88%

If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4)
have an audience share below 25%.

If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4)
have an audience share between 25% and 49%.

If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4)
have an audience share above 50%.

Readership concentration in newspapers (horizontal): 73.39%

ECOMEDIA: Assabah (16.39%), L´Economiste (8.32%)= 24.71%
AWAL: Al Akhbar= 23.24%
MASSAE MEDIA: Al Massae= 17.88%
MEDIA 21: Akhbar Al Youm= 7.56%

If within one country the major 4 owners
(Top4) have a readership share below 25%.

If within one country the major 4 owners
(Top4) have a readership share between 25% and 49%.

If within one country the major 4 owners
(Top4) have an audience share above 50%.

Audience concentration in Internet (horizontal)
Percentage: Audience share not available, only estimated rankings based on unique visitors.
If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have
an audience share below 25%.
If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have
an audience share between 25% and 49%.
If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4)
have an audience share above 50%.

Metadata:

  • Regarding TV: Medi1 TV did not subscribe to CIAUMED in 2016 and 2017 and cannot therefore be part of these calculations. Due to the lack of data on audience concentration, we were not able to gather the audience of the top4 major TV owners of the country. However, since the two main TV companies concentrate almost half of the audience (47.51%), we can conclude that there is a tendency towards a high audience concentration, representing a high risk for TV pluralism.

    • Regarding Print: The audience share is calculated based on the total individual purchases for the 44 print outlets registered with the OJD-Maroc as of October 2017. Although it is difficult to compare weeklies and dailies numbers, the readership share has been calculated according to the average number of individual purchases on a daily basis (5 days a week). 

      Sources: CIRAD (June 2017), CIAUMED (Jan-August 2017), OJD Maroc (2015 and 2016). 

Media Market Concentration

This indicator aims to assess the horizontal ownership concentration based on market share which illustrates the economic power of companies/ groups. Concentration is measured for each media sector by adding the market shares of the major owners in the sector. 

Result:

The media market concentration based on market shares could not be computed. While the Tribunal of Commerce and the OMPIC provides access to some ownership and financial data data for each company as a whole - more or less updated – the data was not available as a) market share and b) per media sector. The concentration for all media-sectors together is evaluated as cross-media-concentration.

Regulatory Safeguards: Media Ownership Concentration

This indicator assesses the existence and effective implementation of regulatory safeguards (sector-specific and/or competition law) against a high horizontal concentration ownership and/or control in the different media.

Result: MEDIUM RISK

Why?

None of the state-owned media nor those partly owned by it (SNRT and 2M – 47.1% of TV audience and 26.3% of radio audience) are actually concerned by the regulation regarding media ownership concentration. They are only bound to respect the requirement specifications [Cahier des charges] established by the High Authority for Audiovisual Communication [HACA].

Up until 2015, licensing in the audiovisual sector depended on the available terrestrial analogical frequencies. But currently, with the help of digital territorial television, and direct satellite broadcasting, there are more available frequencies. It is done relatively transparently by the HACA.  The decision about whether issuing a license or not, is not based on arguments that involve the applicant’s prior engagement in the media sector. When applying for a licence, a licencee has to guarantee a stable shareholding structure with one main shareholder (owning at least 51%) or several shareholders bound by a shareholder’s agreement. The law on Audiovisual Communication (2005) also requires the media outlet to ask the HACA for approval before every change in the ownership structure (article 19). The HACA can impose monetary fines and other forms of sanctions including suspension or revocation of licences and other frequency authorisations as provided by the applicable laws and regulations on owners and entities that violate or fail to comply with the conditions of the granting of said licences.

Although the National Council for Press -  Conseil National de la Presse [CNP] – has officially been created in 2016, it has not yet been installed. Its main task will be to grant press cards, arbitrate in case of conflicts between media and journalists and monitor ownership of the print and the online press. For now, the Ministry of Communications and Culture still delivers press cards. Meanwhile, the Court of First Instance grants a receipt to declare a publication has been created. This same court has the power to deny it if the thresholds imposed by the law are not respected.

There is no separate law aimed at regulating the online media. According to the Press and Publication Code adopted in 2016, online media are required to be registered at the Court of First Instance, just as print outlets have to.

Except for ISPs, media-specific regulations for blocking a merger or acquisition don’t exist and the Conseil National de la Concurrence [CC] is in charge of regulating mergers and acquisitions. The CNC can issue an alert, advocacy report or forbid a merger after a thorough examination (article 17 of the 2014 Competition Law). According to their requirement specifications, ISPs are forbidden to own part of the capital of another Moroccan ISP. It is the case for Maroc Télécom (Article 6) and Orange (Article 7.3).

Regulatory Safeguard Score: 14 out of 20 – Medium Risk (70%).

Table summarizes TV/Radio/Online/Print -
Max. score: 4 per sector.

Description

Yes

No

NA

MD

Does the media legislation contain specific thresholds or limits, based on objective criteria (e.g. number of licenses, audience share, circulation, distribution of share capital or voting rights, turnover/revenue) to prevent a high level of horizontal concentration of ownership and/or control in this sector?

This question aims to assess the existence of regulatory safeguards (sector-specific) against a high horizontal concentration of ownership and/or control in the TELEVISION/RADIO/PRINT/ONLINE sector.

3

 

 

 

Is there an administrative authority or judicial body actively monitoring compliance with the thresholds in the print sector and/or hearing complaints? (e.g. media and/or competition authority)?

This variable aims to assess if the law/regulation provides a due monitoring and sanctioning system for the regulation on audiovisual media concentration.

3

 

 

 

Does the law grant this body sanctioning/enforcement powers in order to impose proportionate remedies (behavioural and/or structural) in case of non-respect of the thresholds?

The variable aims at assessing if the law is providing a due system of sanctions to sector-specific regulation, such as:
- Refusal of additional licences;
- Blocking of a merger or acquisition;
- Obligation to allocate windows for third party programming;
- Obligation to give up licences/activities in other media sectors;
- divestiture.

3

 

 

 

Are these sanctioning/enforcement powers effectively used?

This indicator aims to assess the effective implementation of sector-specific remedies against a high horizontal concentration of ownership and/or control in the TELEVISION/RADIO/PRINT/ONLINE sector.

Low risk (3). The HACA, The Court of First instance, the ANRT can control the attribution of licences. No contentious case was made public.

 

 

Total

12 out 16

 

 

 

Media mergers

Description

Yes

No

NA

MD

Can a high level of horizontal concentration of ownership and/or control in the media sector be prevented via merger control/competition rules that take into account the specificities of the media sector?

This question aims to assess the existence of regulatory safeguards (sector specific and/ or competition law) against a high horizontal concentration of ownership and/or control in the media sector through merging operations. For instance, the law should prevent concentration in merging operations:
-By containing media-specific provisions that impose stricter thresholds than in other sectors;
-The mandatory intervention of a media authority in merger and acquisition cases (for instance, the obligation for the competition authority to ask the advice of the media authority);
- The possibility to overrule the approval of a concentration by the communication authority for reasons of media pluralism (or public interest in general)); -that - even though they do not contain media-specific provisions - do not exclude the media sector from their scope of application.

0.5

 

 

 

Is there an administrative authority or judicial body actively monitoring compliance with rules on mergers and/or hearing complaints? (e.g. media and/or competition authority)?

This variable aims to assess if the law/regulation provides a due monitoring and sanctioning system.

0.5

 

 

 

Does the law grant this body sanctioning/enforcement powers in order to impose proportionate remedies (behavioural and/or structural) in case of non-respect of the thresholds?

The variable aims at assessing if the law is providing a due system of sanctions to sector-specific regulation, such as:
· Blocking of a merger or acquisition;
· Obligation to allocate windows for third party programming;
· Obligation to give up licences/activities in other media sectors
· Divestiture.

0.5

 

 

 

Are these sanctioning/enforcement powers effectively used?

This indicator aims to assess the effective implementation of sector-specific remedies against a high horizontal concentration of ownership and/or control in the television media.

Medium risk (0.5). No contentious case was made public. The state-owned media are not concerned by this regulation.

 

 

Total

2 out of 4

 

 

 

Cross-media Ownership Concentration

This indicator aims to assess the concentration of ownership across the different sectors – TV, print, audio, and any other relevant media – of the media industry. Cross-media concentration is measured by adding up the market shares of the Top media companies. In this case, the market shares are a proxy. Normally, market shares are computed by dividing the companies’ total revenues by the media industry's total revenue over a fiscal period. As the media industry’s total revenue was not available, the revenues of 29 media companies included in our research were added and set as 100% market share. Information Tribunal of commerce was used. For most companies, data for the Fiscal Year 2015 was available. Due to unavailable data, we were unable to compute the weight by revenue of media companies tied to online outlets and satellite television.

Result: LOW

Why?

Cross property is not a central dimension in Morocco as none of the Top media company is present across ALL the different sectors - TV, print, audio, and any other relevant media.

The privately-owned group EcoMedias is the only media company present in the audiovisual and print sectors, concentrating 9.64% of the cross-media market revenue.

This indicator will likely become more relevant in the future, with the increase in number of Moroccan satellite TVs – as newspapers and online outlets may launch their TV stations.

LOW 

MEDIUM 

HIGH

Percentage: 9.64%.
If within one country the major 8 owners (Top8) have a market share below 50% across the different media sectors. If within one country the major 8 owners (Top8) have an audience share between 50% and 69% across the different media sectors. If within one country the major 8 owners (Top8) have a market share above 70% across the different media sectors.


Note: Media companies included in the proxy for the market revenue do not include groups that are not surveyed, such as Prestigia Print, for example, a media group editing the daily Akhir Saâ and the websites Qushq.ma and ladépêche.ma. According to a press release published on 24th October 2017, this group is suspending its publishing activity and of mid-November 2017.

Regulatory Safeguards: Cross-media Ownership Concentration

This indicator aims to assess the existence and effective implementation of regulatory safeguards (sector-specific and/or competition law) against a high degree of cross-ownership between media types (press, TV, radio, internet). 

Result: MEDIUM RISK 

Why?

There are four regulatory authorities monitoring ownership for the private sector: the ANRT, the HACA, the National Press Council (CNP) and the Competition Council [Conseil de la Concurrence]. Their principal role is to check and monitor financial arrangements  in the media sector (print, online, radio and TV). They also have the power to formally revoke any radio and TV licence or call to order a print or online outlet when concentration provisions are not respected. However, vertical concentration is not specifically mentioned by the regulations of the ANRT, HACA, CNP and the Competition Council.

The State-owned media is not concerned by the regulation. As such, the SNRT and the SOREAD have the biggest vertical concentration, reaching out to 41.47% of the TV audience through Al Aoula and 2M, and 32.35% of the Radio audience in the country through SNRT Radios and Radio 2M. Moreover, the state is also owner of the only Moroccan news agency, the MAP (see News agency indicator) and of its own advertising network.

Regulatory Safeguard Score: 3.5 out of 8 – Medium Risk (43.75%)

Note: 0.5 corresponds to the fact that the variable is applicable to the private sector (1) but not to the State sector (0).

CROSS-MEDIA ownership

Description

Yes

No

NA

MD

Does the media legislation contain specific thresholds, based on objective criteria, such as number of licences, audience share, circulation, distribution of share capital or voting rights, turnover/revenue, to prevent a high degree of cross-ownership between the different media?

This indicator aims to assess the existence of regulatory safeguards (sector-specific and/or competition law) against a high degree of cross-ownership in different media sectors.

 

x

 

 

Is there an administrative authority or judicial body actively monitoring compliance with these thresholds and/or hearing complaints? (e.g. media authority)

This variable aims to assess if the law/regulation provides a due monitoring and sanctioning system for the regulation on audiovisual media concentration.

0.5

 

 

 

Does the law grant body sanctioning/enforcement powers in order to impose proportionate remedies (behavioural and/or structural) in case of non-respect of the thresholds?

The variable aims at assessing if the law is providing a due system of sanctions to sector-specific regulation, such as:

· Refusal of additional licences;

· Blocking of a merger or acquisition;

· Obligation to allocate windows for third party programming;

· Obligation to give up licences/activities in other media sectors

· divestiture.

0.5

 

 

 

Are these sanctioning/enforcement powers effectively used?

the relevant authority never uses its sanctioning powers

The question aims at assessing the effectiveness of the remedies provided by the regulation.

Medium risk (0.5)

 

 

Can a high degree of cross-ownership between different media be prevented via merger control/competition rules that take into account the specificities of the media sector?

For instance, cross-ownership can be prevented by comptetion law:

- by the mandatory intervention of a media authority in M&A cases (for instance, the obligation for the competition authority to ask the advice of the media authority);

- by the possibility to overrule the approval of a concentration by the competition authority for reasons of media pluralism (or Public interest in general);

Even though the law does not contain media-specific provisions - it does not exclude the media sector from its scope of application

0.5

 

 

 

Is there an administrative authority or judicial body actively monitoring compliance with these rules and/or hearing complaints? (e.g. media and/or competition authority)

This variable aims to assess if the law/regulation provides a due monitoring and sanctioning system for the regulation against a high degree of cross-ownership in different media sectors via merger control/competition rules

0.5

 

 

 

Does the law grant body sanctioning/enforcement powers in order to impose proportionate remedies (behavioural and/or structural) in case of non-respect of the thresholds?

Examples sanctioning/enforcement powers and remedies:

- blocking of a merger or acquisition;

- obligation to allocate windows for third party programming;

- must carryobligation to give up licences/activities in other media sectors ;

- divestiture.

0.5

 

 

 

Are these sanctioning/enforcement powers effectively used?

The question aims at assessing the effectiveness of the remedies of the regulation.

Medium risk (0.5)

 

 

Total

3.5 out of 8

 

 

 

Ownership Transparency

This indicator assesses the transparency of ownership data of the media outlets/companies as ownership transparency is a crucial precondition to enforce media pluralism. It should be noted that political affiliations don’t have to be indicated and no « conflict of interest » legislation exists, that would prohibit people holding a political office or a high-profile position within a political party from owning a media outlet.

In Morocco, 17 outlets out of the 46 surveyed answer the requests of the MOM team, which is significantly higher than in any of the 12 countries surveyed so far.

Result: MEDIUM

Why?

Media outlets were either willing to disclose information, or information could be found through publicly available registries. Officially, media companies have to register at the Tribunal of Commerce, where they at least have to list the company form and shareholders. This information can be purchased for 20 Moroccan Dirhams (MAD) per copied company file at the Court or accessed for a higher fee through the Moroccan Office for Intellectual Property [OMPIC]. In order to get updated information, all media outlets (46) and companies were contacted with a list of data needed. In general, the publicly available information was available, but  information on ownership structures were not updated.

  • Active transparency means a company/channel/outlet informs proactively and comprehensively about its ownership, data is constantly updated and easily verifiable. In Morocco, actively transparent were leSite Info, le360, Le Desk and Les Inspirations Ecos. These outlets published ownership information on their websites and informed their readers about the changes in the ownership structures. However, as it is required by law to send the changes in ownership, a vast majority of contacted outlets referred the MOM team to the publicly available data, without  giving any updated information (see Data publicly availale). In total, 4 media outlets were proactive (9.2%) when it came to providing ownership information.
  • Passive transparency means that upon request, ownership data is easily available from the company/from an outlet. In Morocco, 17 media outlets reacted to the sent requests – including 12 contacted online media out of the 17 selected (70.6%). While Maroc Hebdo provided data when contacted, it was not possible to verify it through publicly available data. As a whole, 29.5% of the media outlets did provide information upon request.
  • Data publicly available means ownership data is easily available from other sources, e. g. public registries etc.In Morocco, data was publicly available for the majority of the media outlets (54.5%) through the OMPIC. The Court disclosed the information for the following outlets : Med Radio, Aswat, Radio 2M, Chada FM, Al Akhbar, Medi1 TV. However, data was often obviously outdated, with changes in ownership not recorded.
  • Data unavailable means ownership data is not publicly available; company/channel denies the release of information or does not respond, no public record exists. As they are not officially registered,no data was available for Badil and Barlamane. Although it is registered, no data was available for Hibapress. Maroc Hebdo was the only outlet for which the OMPIC did not have recorded information. However, this outlet reacted to the sent request (see Passive Transparency). As a whole, data was unavailable for 3 outlets (6.8%)
  • Active disguise means that in addition to unavailability of true data, ownership is disguised, e. g. through bogus companies, etc. A case like this could not be proven in Morocco (0%).

LOW (1)

MEDIUM (2)

HIGH (3)

TRANSPARENCY

How would you assess the transparency and accessibility of data about the media ownership?

Active Transparency – 9.2%
Passive Transparency – 29.5 %
Data Publicly Available – 54.5 %
Data Unavailable – 6.8 %
Active Disguise - 0 %

Data on media owners as well as their political affiliations is publicly available and transparent.

(Active Transparency)

Code if that applies to > 75% of the sample

Data of media owners and their political affiliations are disclosed based on investigations of journalists and media activists or upon request.

(Passive Transparency, Publicly Available)

Code if that applies > 50% of the sample.

Data on political affiliations of media owners are not easily accessible by the public and investigative journalists of activists are not successful in disclosing these data.

(Data Unavailable, Active Disguise)

Code if data is available for < 50% of the sample

Notes :

The existing regulatory safeguards do prevent in theory the layering of structures to obscure ultimate beneficial foreign owners. However, a few cases escape to this rule and are said to have obtained special consideration/authorization by the government. The ones concerned that are included in our study are: Groupe Maroc Soir, with its editing company Nouvelle Maroc Soir owned almost exclusively by the British-Saudi media group El Omeir, through 4 shadow companies; Medi1 TV, that saw 2 Emiratis investment groups enter its capital in 2014; and the group Medias 24, that has at its helm Tunisian national Nacereudine El Afrite. This may also apply to Ecomedias’ co-founder, majority shareholder and French national Marie Therese Borrut, known by her pseudonym Nadia Salah, whose citizenship status we do not know.

Given the nature of the Moroccan banking system, that still relies largely on cash transactions, it is this impossible for us to track down who invests in the medias. This is an issue that does by no means concern only the media sector. It is commonly acknowledged that financial proxies do exist and are involved in the financing of certain medias companies and outlets.

Regulatory Safeguards: Ownership Transparency

This indicator aims to assess the existence and effective implementation of transparency and disclosure provisions with regard to media ownership and/or control.

Result:

Ownership transparency provisions exist for all media sectors but they are strictly limited to the disclosure of investments, productions and rights purchases. While these laws do not prevent complex layering of company structures, media companies at least submit information on their ownership structures, which are accessible. This means all in all a MEDIUM RISK to media ownership transparency.

Why? 

  • All media outlets (public and private) are required to register with the Tribual of Commerce, and with their regulatory body. As of then, companies have to submit annually both financial information and ownership structure information. Those data can be purchased at the Tribunal of Commerce and at the OMPIC.  There is however a difference between the privately-owned media and the publicly-owned media.
  • The Print and Online sectors are submitted to the same provisions (Article 11 of the 2016 press and edition Code) and must declare their ownership structures to the yet to be established National Press Council (Conseil national de la presse [CNP]).
  • The broadcast privately-owned media companies have to declare their ownership structure to the HACA. This information consists of cross-shareholdings, capital division, and voting rights. Influential people over the editorial charter, political affiliations of the employees or affiliated influential people, and advertising revenues do not have to be disclosed.
  • The ANRT is responsible for ensuring compliance of the ISPs defined by their requirement specifications [Cahier des charges] in terms of transparency.
  • The publicly-owned media companies (SOREAD, SNRT and the MAP news agency) are not submitted to any of these obligations and there is no obligation for the regulatory body to publish any of the information they possess.
  • Sanctions in case of non-respect of disclosure obligations could be theoretically imposed on the private sector and brought to court – however, there has notably been no case. 

Regulatory Safeguard Score: 12.5 out of 20 – Medium Risk (62.5%).

Transparency Provisions (summarized for TV, Radio, Press, Online - max. score 5 per sector)

Description

Yes

No

N/A

MD

Does national (media, company, tax...) law contain transparency and disclosure provisions obliging media companies to publish their ownership structures on their website or in records/documents that are accessible to the public?

The aim of the question is to check regulatory safeguard for transparency towards the citizens, the users and the public in general.

3

Does national (media, company, tax...) law contain transparency and disclosure provisions obliging media companies to report (changes in) ownership structures to public authorities(such as the media authority)?

The aim of the question is to check regulatory safeguard for accountability and transparency towards public authorities.

3

Is there an obligation by national law to disclose relevant information after every change in ownership structure?

This question aims at assessing if the law provides rules on the public availability of accurate and up-to-date data on media ownership. This is a condition for an effective transparency.

3

Are there any sanctions in case of non-respect of disclosure obligations?

This question aims at assessing if the law on media ownership transparency can be enforced through the application of sanctions.

3

Do the obligations ensure that the public knows which legal or natural person effectively owns or controls the media company?

This question aim at assessing the effectiveness of the laws that deal with media ownership transparency and if they succeed in disclosing the real owners of the media outlets.

Medium risk (0.5)

Total

12.5 out of 20

(Political) Control Over Media Outlets and Distribution Networks

This indicator assesses the risk of political affiliations and control over media and distribution networks. It also assesses the level of discrimination by politically affiliated media distribution networks. Discriminatory actions would for example include unfavorable pricing and posing barriers to media accessing the distribution channel. Political Affiliations means that the media outlet or company belongs to a party, a partisan group, a party leader or a clearly partisan person.

Result: LOW

Why?

By law, political affiliations do not have to be declared when registering a media outlet.

Of the 46 selected media outlets, only 2 are clearly politically affiliated : the French-language daily l’Opinion and the Arabic-language daily Al Ittihad Ichtiraki. They both belong to political parties.

In the broadcast sector, political parties and associations cannot create a TV or a radio station. As such, of the 3 selected TV channels, none of them belong to a party, a partisan group, a party leader or a clearly partisan person. However, the TV sector remains clearly state-owned. Of the 10 selected radio stations, none of them belong to a party, a partisan group, a party leader or a clearly partisan person. Three print outlets partly belong to Ministers of the current government (Aujourd’hui Le Maroc, La Nouvelle Tribune and La Vie Eco).

Some outlets belong to owners who are affiliated to political parties. However, the outlets themselves do not belong to the party. This is the case for three print outlets that partly belong to Ministers of the current government (Aujourd’hui Le Maroc, La Nouvelle Tribune and La Vie Eco), one online news outlet is partially being acquired by the Deputy General Secretary of the Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM) (Le Desk) but its editorial charter garantees editorial independence.

LOW (1) 

MEDIUM (2) 

HIGH (3)

POLITICATION OF MEDIA OUTLETS    

What is the share of TV / radio / online/ print media owned by politically affiliated entities?

The media having <30% audience share is owned (controlled) by a specific political party, politician or political grouping, or by an owner with specific political affiliation.    

The media having <50% - >30% audience share is owned (controlled) by a specific political party, politician or political grouping, or by an owner with specific political affiliation. 

The media having >50% audience share is owned (controlled) by a specific political party, politician or political grouping, or by an owner with specific political affiliation.    

Political control over media distribution networks
The overall level of (political) control over media outlets and distribution networks was assessed as a low risk to media pluralism. A leading distribution network is defined as a network covering more than 15% of the national market.

Result: LOW TO MEDIUM

Why?

The distribution network for print publications consists mainly of two companies (Sochepresse and Sapress). For financial reasons and because of discriminatory actions against certain publications, they have created their own distribution networks

Radio and TV Networks depend on frequencies that are attributed by the High Authority for Audiovisual Communications (HACA). While questions are raised over licence and frequencies attribution (SEE TV INTRO), there is no proven record of discriminatory action. The HACA is independent from the government and has been a constitutional body since 2011. According to MOM legal assessment, the control over leading radio et television cannot be assessed in Morocco. Radio distribution network are selected by the HACA and there is only one private TV operator, Medi1 TV, as the result of the privatisation of a state-owned company. For satellite TV distribution, Morocco relies on NileSat (Egyptian based), EutelSat (French based), ArabSat (Saudi based) and Yahsat (UAE based).    

Internet Service Providers are the distribution networks behind the Internet. In Morocco, there exists three of them : Maroc Telecom, formerly owned by the state and today in majority owned by Emirati telecommuication giant Etisalat, the private company Inwi – owned by the royal holding group SNI, and the private company Orange Maroc – owned by the French group Orange.

LOW (1)

MEDIUM (2)

HIGH (3)

How would you assess the conduct of the leading distribution networks for print media? 

Leading distribution networks are not politically affiliated or do not take discriminatory actions.    

At least one of the leading distribution networks is politically affiliated or takes occasional discriminatory actions.    

All of the leading distribution networks are politically affiliated and has a record of repeated discriminatory actions.    

How would you assess the conduct of the leading radio distribution networks? NA

Leading distribution networks are not politically affiliated or do not take discriminatory actions.    

At least one of the leading distribution networks is politically affiliated or takes occasional discriminatory actions.    

All of the leading distribution networks are politically affiliated and has a record of repeated discriminatory actions.    

How would you assess the conduct of the leading television distribution networks? NA 

Leading distribution, are not politically affiliated or do not take discriminatory actions.

At least one of the leading distribution networks is politically affiliated or takes occasional discriminatory actions. 

All of the leading distribution networks are politically affiliated and has a record of repeated discriminatory actions. 

How would you assess the conduct of the leading Internet distribution networks? 

Leading distribution networks are not politically affiliated or do not take discriminatory actions.

At least one of the leading distribution networks is politically affiliated or takes occasional discriminatory actions. 

All of the leading distribution networks are politically affiliated and has a record of repeated discriminatory actions.  

 

 

(Political) Control Over Media Funding

This indicator assesses the influence of the state on the media market’s functioning, focusing particularly on the risk of discrimination in the distribution of state-owned companies’ advertisements and state subsidies dedicated to media funding. The discrimination can be reflected in favouritism towards political parties or affiliates of political parties in the government, or in penalisation of media outlets critical of the government. State advertising is understood as any advertising paid by governments (national, regional, local) and state-owned institutions and companies.

Results: MEDIUM TO HIGH RISK

Why?

Print outlets fulfilling the requirements of the ‘Contrat-programme pour le soutien de la presse écrite 2015-2019’ of the  Ministry of Culture and Communications can benefit from state subsidies. This same Ministry has declared that the state had an obligation to provide public funding to the media industry.

However, rules defining State advertising remain unclear as there is no specific criteria to distribute it (audience share, revenue etc.). State advertising is, based on MOM’s legal assessment, allocated through an opaque and unjustified procedure. Commercial broadcast medias have to rely solely on advertising as radio and television stations mostly provide free-to-air services. For television and radio, government, public bodies, telecommunication operators and key corporations appear to place advertisements mainly in state media outlets with an important audience share (2M TV channel and SNRT Radio stations), but there is no public track-record or explanation for it.

The print sector is of particular interest, as advertising in general seems to keep <s>it</s> alive a number of print outlets with poor or negative returns.

Regulatory Safeguard Score: 14 out of 20 – Medium Risk (70%).

Table shows TV, radio, press, online summarized. Max. score: 5 per sector.

LOW (1)

MEDIUM (2)

HIGH (3)

Is the state advertising distributed to media proportionately to their audience share?

State advertising is distributed to the media relatively proportionately to the audience shares of media.

State advertising is distributed disproportionately (in terms of audience share) to the media.

State advertising is distributed exclusively to few media outlets, which do not cover all major media outlets in the country.

How would you assess the rules of distribution of state advertising?

State advertising is distributed to media outlets based on transparent rules.

State advertising is distributed to media outlets based on a set of rules but it is unclear whether they are transparent.

There are no rules regarding distribution of state advertising to media outlets or these.

IMPORTANCE OF STATE ADVERTISING

What is the share of state advertising as part of the overall TV / Radio / Print/ online advertising market?

VALUE: There is no data available on the share of state advertising in the market.

Share of state advertising is <5% of the overall market.

Share of state advertising is 5%-10% of the overall market.

Share of state advertising is > 10% of the overall market.·

 

(Political) Control Over News Agencies

This indicator assesses the range and independence of competing news agencies, including the assessment of the level of state ownership and level of independence of state owned news agencies. 

Result:
Even if financial information on the news agency market is lacking and the indicator could only be partly evaluated, it overall shows a HIGH RISK. Even if international news agencies are also a relevant source for media outlets, the only news agency with a primarily national focus and with direct access to political information is a state corporation.

Why? 

According to its information, the Maghreb Arab Press Agency (MAP) was established in 1959. It became a state agency in 1974 and, as of today, is Morocco’s leading national press agency. As such, all members of the Federation of Moroccan Newspapers’ Editors (Fédération Marocaine Des Editeurs De Journaux [FMEJ]) and the radio and TV stations that are members of the Independent broadcasters association (Association des Radios et des Télévisions Indépendantes [ARTI]) are all clients of the MAP.

The MAP is a state-owned company. It is defined by the Moroccan State as a company « of strategic importance ». The King has nominated its director, Khalil Hachimi Idrissi, in 2011. While it cannot be stated that the MAP depends on political grouping or that its editorial policy is influenced by politics, the MAP has already been linked to the Moroccan intelligence services.   According to the MAP editorial charter, journalists should respect pluralism and balance in information processing.

The MAP therefore dominates the market, in the absence of other competing Moroccan agencies. Yet, this does not represent a real risk to the control of public opinion, as the media are not forced to work with this agency, even though it remains a source of official information. There are also several international news agencies present in Morocco, such as l'Agence France Presse (AFP), Reuters, and the Spanish agency EFE.

In 2015, its revenue was averaging $US 3.6 millions (35.7 millions MAD) and a negative operating profit averaging - $US 450 000  (- 4.5 millions MAD).

LOW 

MEDIUM 

HIGH 

What is the market share of the leading news agency?
VALUE: There is no market share for news agencies available.
No news agency dominates the market (occupy >30% of the market of news agencies). One news agency has <50% ≥30% share of the market of news agencies. The leading news agency has ≥50% market share.
How would you evaluate the political affiliation and/or dependence of the largest news agency?
None of the largest news agencies is dependent on political groupings in terms of ownership, affiliation of key personnel or editorial policy. At least one of the largest news agencies is dependent on political groupings in terms of ownership, affiliation of key personnel or editorial policy. Most or all of the largest news agencies is dependent on political groupings in terms of ownership, affiliation of key personnel or editorial policy.

Metadata : for the purpose of the study, the MAP was contacted and a meeting was held with Khalil Hachimi Idrissi on August 21st, 2017. When contacted with further questions, the MAP insisted about its editorial independence and financial autonomy.

Sources: 

Ministère de l’Economie et des Finances (2016). Projet de Loi de Finances pour l’année budgétaire 2017. Consulté le 5 novembre 2017. 

 

 

  • Project by
    Le Desk
  •  
    Reporters without borders
  • Funded by
    BMZ