It’s only the first day of French president, François Hollande’s visit to Morocco and what a media failure it’s been! First, his former budget minister is exposed in a major fraud scandal revealing that he held an offshore account. Instead of admitting to it at first, he denied, then recanted, which just made things worse. So now, of course, the French media and political scene is focused entirely on this scandal. While I was watching France24 this morning, all they were talking about was anticipating Hollande’s remarks in Morocco regarding the scandal, nothing about the visit. All this, while footage of King Mohammed VI greeting Hollande at the Casablanca airport streamed on constant loop, with le petit prince Hassan trotting behind the two heads of state. The only remark the news coverage made about Hollande’s visit to Morocco that was not associated with the political scandal was the thirty agreements between French and Moroccan companies were made. What kind of agreements? Which companies? Who knows.
To make the visit even more of a media fail, the visit was prefaced with statements from both Human Rights Watch and Reporters Without Borders urging Hollande to address and pressure the Moroccan government on its human rights abuses and violations on press freedom.
Even if the Moroccan regime wanted to use this visit as an opportunity for positive media coverage, the only place that’s going to happen is on Moroccan state media where the regime already controls every headline. On the other hand, French media is preoccupied with the scandal at home, and Moroccan independent media is echoing the calls of HRW and RSF to call the regime out on its ongoing violations.
And to top it all off, the scenes of the king and his crew welcoming Hollande are beyond archaic. I really can’t get over Hassan following them from behind. I wish someone could reproduce the footage of him following the king and Hollande while dubbing it with a presumed narration of his thoughts.