Internet concerns ahead of Moroccan demonstrations

During anti-government protests in Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria, Yemen and Bahrain, the governments did their best to curtail the dissemination of news, video and images from inside by cracking down on people’s access to the Internet. With less than a week before planned demonstrations against King Mohamed VI, many fear the same could happen in Morocco.

“We are definitely worried about what is going to happen. It is the right thing to do, but if we get shut off from the outside world, who will help us?” asked Ibrahim, a 22-year university student in Rabat.

He said that while demonstrations are key to any movement’s success, the Internet is just as vital, “it gives a look to the outside world of what is going on in the country and on the ground.”

The worries come as mobile and Internet penetration in Morocco continues to rise dramatically, with a third of the country’s population having access to the internet (Internet World Stats). The planned protests are part of the country’s push to remove the monarchy from power after years of what opposition forces call “oppressive tactics” against people.

“This includes the cracking down on what people say online, so it is not a surprise that they would be thinking of turning off our Internet,” added Ibrahim.

By Jonathan Terry