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Moroccan cartoonists fight for their right to express themselves

It doesn’t seem like Morocco is the perfect place to be for daring caricaturists and satirical writers, but despite restrictions, some are still fighting for freedom of expression.
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At a time when caricature has become a stand-alone component in major media institutions around the world, caricaturists in Morocco are still struggling to coexist in an environment lacking freedom and fraught with restrictions and red lines that are either imposed by society’s conservative nature or by the political system. Consequently, the freedom of expression and creativity of many Moroccan caricaturists is limited as they find themselves facing increasingly thicker red lines that are related to classic contraband issues such as the monarchy, the Western Sahara issue, religion and sex.

Khalid Gueddar is one of the most talented and daring caricaturists in Morocco. He is known for his bold caricatures that cover all kinds of religious, political and social taboos. He suffered the most from the authorities’ restrictions. In addition to being prosecuted because of the publication of some of his caricatures, there were additional attempts aimed at exploiting other issues [unrelated to his work] to discredit and silence him. Gueddar was sentenced by the Kenitra Court in early July 2015 to three months imprisonment on charges of public intoxication and insulting police officers in a case dating back to summer 2012. Gueddar denied the charges.

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