Monarchy is 'not to be debated'

The authorities in Morocco have seized the latest edition of two of the country's leading independent magazines – TelQuel (circulation 35,000) and Nichane (50,000).

The reason? Both published an opinion poll showing that 91% of Moroccans have a "positive or very positive" opinion of the king's performance during his first 10 years.

The concern, apparently, is not about the nine per cent who have a less-than-positive view of the king, but the principle of expressing opinions about him. Communications minister Khalid Naciri told AFP: "The monarchy in Morocco ... cannot be the object of debate even through a poll."

The poll was conducted jointly with the French daily, Le Monde, which is due to publish the results itself on Tuesday. The minister says any copies of Le Monde containing the poll will be banned from the country too.

Posted by Brian Whitaker, 2 August 2009