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Press and professional journalists bill

Following the royal instructions, the Prime Minister referred to the Advisory Council on Human Rights (CCDH) in February 2007 the Press and Professional Journalists Bill in order to issue an advisory opinion on the said bill, mainly on its aspects related to civil liberties and human rights.

To that end, the CCDH set up a working group composed of members and administrative executives, who held sessions in camera devoted to addressing this bill. It also held meetings in the presence of the Minister of Communication and called on experts in the field. Also, the CCDH received memoranda from the National Press Union (SNP) and the National Federation of Newspaper Publishers (FNE) highlighting their positions and proposals on the modifications provided for by this bill.

In a memorandum addressed to the Prime Minister, the CCDH highlighted first the need to deepen the study of the bill taking into account the following points :

- The media responsibility and role in informing citizens within the framework of the democracy-building process;

- The consolidation of constitutional gains in the area of freedom of expression and the necessity to develop a professional environment and to continue the social development dynamics in our country;

- The legal vacuum on the access and right to information;

- The provisions which still contain attachment : imprisonment sanctions and other liberty-depriving sanctions;

- The necessity to define the press incriminating action and content in order to avoid all interpretations which are likely to restrict freedom of opinion, expression, and cultural and artistic creation.

The CCDH has received recently the final version of the bill, proposed by the Prime Minister, to issue its advisory opinion.

It is worth mentioning that the Press Law promulgated in 1958 was modified in January 2002.