Renowned Moroccan academic and political scientist Mustapha Sehimi slammed, on Friday, the refusal of the lemonde.fr editorial staff to publish an article he wrote in response to two prejudicial articles published at the end of December and the beginning of January on the subject of the Moroccan Sahara, describing the reaction of the French media outlet as a "bias" and "censorship".
Recalling the facts, Sehimi said that, on December 28, 2020, the electronic platform published a column by François Dubousson, professor at the Free University of Brussels and Ghislain Poissonnier containing, for the most part, the usual discourse on the southern provinces of the Kingdom, human rights and the renewed tension in the region.
On December 30, Sehimi sent a reply to the correspondent of lemonde.fr in Morocco and to its editorial staff in Paris, which offered a "historical and political perspective of a process of decolonization initiated by the Morocco since 1963 until 1975", he indicated in a column entitled "Lemonde.fr and Morocco: The bias as… censorship".
"No acknowledgment of receipt," said the law professor at Mohammed V University in Rabat.
It was only on January 6 that the journalist informed him that the column could not be published, "given the large number of texts they receive for a limited space," said Sehimi.
On January 4, a researcher from IESA-CSIC (Cordoba) Thierry Desrues, is entitled to a column on the same theme with the title: "In Morocco, a diplomatic victory over the Sahara at the risk of moral defeat on the Palestinian question", the political scientist said.
He said that on January 7, after a reminder requesting an acknowledgment of receipt from the platform, the deputy editor-in-chief Marie de Vergès apologizes for the delay in her response and informs him that "we will not be able to publish because we have already dealt with the subject extensively in recent weeks".
"Dealt with, how? And by whom? Under what light? Where is pluralism?" wonders Sehimi, who sees in these reactions a bias and a form of censorship which does not assume its responsibility.
Contacted by MAP, Sehimi stressed that Le Monde reacted in a manner "contrary to its own declared principles of openness and pluralism", noting that this press organ published two articles "in bad faith ( ...) which are the result of prejudice and recurring hostility towards Morocco".
This reaction is at odds with the rules of the journalistic profession, which Le Monde claims honoring, all the more so because Sehimi sent the editorial staff a balanced and informative article, which highlights "information on a process of decolonization that began more than half a century ago".