Bensaid unveils the details of the extension procedure

The procedure for extending the mandate of the National Press Council (CNP) is an emergency measure and represents an exceptional solution which was imposed by necessity. This is also what the Minister of Youth, Culture and Communication, Mohamed Mehdi Bensaid, said when answering questions from the advisers.

The legal mandate of the National Press Council was due to end on October 5, 2022 and yet the government decided to extend its mission for a few more months since the elections of new members and representatives were not organized in time. According to the draft decree relating to this extension, the chosen procedure is justified by “the need for the current Board to continue to perform its duties until the election of a new Board“.

On the other hand, Bensaid specified, in an answer to the question of an adviser, that within the framework of a participatory institutional approach, the government as well as all the parties involved are under an obligation to work towards the evolution of the current legal system to avoid the occurrence of this type of situation which requires exceptional interventions and solutions. The Minister explained that it is necessary in particular to develop general rules concerning the adoption of permanent provisions in reserve in order to ensure the continuity of the exercise within the Council in the event of interruption for any reason.

With regard to the self-regulation of the profession, the Minister indicated that an assessment of the experience is being carried out in order to allow a correct conduct of the next elections. He then dissected the evaluation process, which often begins with the organization of parliament for a day dedicated to the study of the subject, including all the provisions of the Press and Publishing Code, a coordinated phase with all parties involved. Bensaid did not fail to recall that the parliament, which holds the power of the Constitution, has the mission of legislating the field of the press and publishing, in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 71.

In addition, the communication department under the ministry is in charge of monitoring the extension of the mandate file while coordinating with professionals in the sector, the minister said, adding that the elections only concern representatives of professional journalists and the publishers’ representatives and its preparations are carried out by a commission chaired by a judge and whose members are made up of representatives of professionals and national institutions.

He noted, in the same context, that the very first elections took place on June 22, 2018 while the chairman of the council was elected on October 5, 2018 following the results of the latter. The tasks of the Council are entrusted by law and this includes the development of its internal system as well as the elaboration of a charter of professional ethics. For Bensaid, the achievements of the CNP are considered as a booster of the experience of self-regulation of the profession of journalism and its independence while relying on democratic pillars recognized by article 28 of the Moroccan constitution.

To conclude, the Minister of Communication revealed that the government, with the agreement of the competent committees of the two chambers of parliament, has put in place constitutional provisions through the publication of decree n° 2.22. 770 enacting special measures for the National Press Council, since the mandate normally expired has been extended as well as its provisions for a period of six months, ending on April 4, 2023.

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