Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2019

First Advisor

Dr. Polly E. Bugros McLean

Second Advisor

Dr. Patrick Ferrucci

Third Advisor

Dr. J. Richard Stevens


Five years after the 2011 Arab Uprisings swept through the Middle East and North Africa, popular protests similarly took hold of the marginalized Rif region of northeastern Morocco. The 2016-17 Hirak movement demanded better treatment and less abuse from the authoritarian state, but they were met with an iron fist rather than a helping hand. In the aftermath, more than 400 activists were arrested and later imprisoned for “undermining national security.” Seventeen journalists were also arrested on charges related to national security. It is clear they were targeted for having attempted to cover the abuses of the state. Focusing on what transpired during and after the Hirak movement, this research attempts to detail how the state controls the military, judiciary and the political economy to silence critical journalists who serve as watchdogs of state abuse. The results find that in this crackdown, the Kingdom of Morocco may have eliminated critical journalism and citizen journalism as oppositional voices who dare speak truth to power.