This or that?

Photo from my friend and colleague @__Hisham in Casablanca, Morocco.

No, this is not a piece of propaganda put up by the Moroccan authoritarian regime. It’s a billboard of this month’s French version of Foreign Policy magazine in Morocco. This is entirely real. The text reads, “Mohammed VI, the king who changed Morocco.”

It is worth noting that Foreign Policy, the US monthly managing the website where Traub’s article was posted, is also publishing a French version, with partly different contents from the US mothership. That French version is published by a Moroccan company, Maroc Télématique. Maroc Télématique is the publisher of the very pro-royal L’Observateur, a barely read mouthpiece of the regime. That company is lead by Ahmed Charaï, whose views are publicized by an obscure US think-tank, the Gatestone Institute, and the centrist foreign policy magazine, The National Interest. Charaï also sits on the advisory board of the much more well-known Center for Strategic International Studies (CSIS).

The August issue of Foreign Policy’s French version has carried Mohammed VI on its cover, with the slightly obsequious title « Mohammed VI – Le Roi qui a changé le Maroc ». That issue carried several articles on Morocco written by L’Observateur journalists, and contained no serious criticism, despite there being no lack of vocal and sophisticated critics of how the King rules Morocco. The flattering articles in that issue were then cited by Morocco’s official state press agency as an endorsement by « la publication américaine Foreign Policy Magazine » without any mention that this praise was only published in Foreign Policy’s Morocco-based French version – not quite the same thing.

Read more about the Morocco-based francophone version of the magazine here.

FP sure is on a roll these days!

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