Moroccan web TV devoted to freedoms makes debut

Programmes on Oxygene will target stereotypes and biases incompatible with human rights values and principles.
Sunday 20/05/2018
Staff members of Morocco’s first internet-based television channel Oxygene. (Al Arab)
Breath of fresh air. Staff members of Morocco’s first internet-based television channel Oxygene. (Al Arab)

The first internet-based television channel in Morocco dedicated to human rights and freedoms has gone online. The channel’s promoters said the channel will stream debates, reports and appeals for implementing and strengthening the culture of human rights and freedoms in Morocco.

“Oxygene” (Oxygen) was initiated by the Mediator for Democracy and Human Rights, a Moroccan NGO. It will be run by young people who have received extensive training in reporting as well as in the technical aspects of producing, filming and directing.

Jihad Balghzal, Mediator for Democracy and Human Rights project manager, said the NGO is looking to contribute significantly to an alternative media scene conveying a new vision and a new approach to human rights and personal freedoms. Oxygene offers the opportunity to defend and promote rights and freedoms in formats suitable for online broadcasting, he said.

Belghzal said there was a tendency among electronic media to focus on sensationalism to increase the number of followers and profits. They often violate privacy and promote hateful discourse and violence. There is a lack of professionalism and a disregard for human rights, he said, when a culture of human rights should be the framework for disseminating audiovisual content.

Mediator for Democracy and Human Rights Secretary-General Khadija Marouazi said Oxygene planned to go beyond social and cultural stereotypes and outdated modes of communication with creative ways of putting together and presenting alternative content with the latest internet and audiovisual technologies.

Merouazi praised the cooperation between her NGO, the Moroccan National Council for Human Rights and the UN Fund for Democracy. The latter provided funds for the project, which started two years ago, and provided training for 100 people from various parts of Morocco.

Training included techniques and skills needed to produce programmes focused on human rights and freedoms.

The NGO gave the channel the slogan “Tomorrow’s reporters are here today.” Sponsors of the initiative said they hoped that it would help consolidate democracy in mass media in Morocco by training new professionals in human rights and democracy.

They said democracy is the main guarantor of human rights and their NGO interacts with official institutions involved in public policies, intermediary institutions, the university, civil society organisations and other citizens.

National Council for Human Rights President Driss el-Yazami praised the Mediator for Democracy and Human Rights’ initiative and expressed confidence in the channel’s young reporters and technicians.

He pointed out that Morocco needed to harness energies to satisfy the rights of all citizens to a decent living and basic rights guaranteed by the constitution and international conventions. Young people have an important role to play towards that goal since they represent the social engine for progress.

Programmes on Oxygene will target stereotypes and biases incompatible with human rights values and principles. They will present content designed to promote the culture of human rights and oppose the discourse of hate and violence.

Oxygene’s head of web marketing Abdelmoghit Chabbani said training was provided by professional and university instructors over two years in Rabat and Marrakech. The training sessions were crucial in determining the channel’s mission goals. Production of relevant material started immediately after training.

Putting together a schedule of relevant programmes was a challenge but, as Chabbani pointed out, teamwork and communication among the project’s stakeholders paid off and the channel has a bank of its exclusive shows that has been well received by its target audience.

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