SNPM expresses absolute solidarity with journalist Abdessamad Nasser after unfair dismissal by Al Jazeera Channel
Following the journalist Abdessamad Nasser’s wrongful firing by the Al Jazeera channel on Thursday, the Moroccan National Press Union (SNPM) declared its utmost and total sympathy with him.
The SNPM explained in a statement that Al Jazeera’s unilateral decision to terminate the contract of colleague Abdessamad Nasser—meaning his unfair dismissal—following his publication of a tweet in a space unrelated to the media he works for, “damages the channel’s credibility and empties its slogans on freedom of expression, publication, independence of journalists, and defense of their dignity of all meaning, turning them, in the process, into hollow currency.”
The Union stated that it “hastened to carry out the necessary investigations into this unexpected decision made hastily by the management of the Al Jazeera channel,” noting that it turned out that after Abdessamad Nasser had broadcast a tweet in which he defended the honor of Moroccan women following the insults they were subjected to by the official Algerian media, which accused the Moroccan state of exploitation of the honor and dignity of Moroccan women, Al Jazeera’s news director made the decision.
According to the same source, Nasser contested the order, alleging that it violated his right to free speech beyond the parameters of the channel.
The managing director of the channel then called Nasser to his office, according to the SNPM, and asked him to take down or at the very least change the tweet so that it wouldn’t be regarded as a criticism of the Algerian government. The managing director of Al Jazeera informed Nasser that, should he refuse, he would be required to take deterrent administrative measures, the source continued, noting that Nasser continued to insist that the disputed tweet qualified as an exercise of freedom of expression in a context unrelated to Al Jazeera.
According to the SNPM, Abdessamad Nasser was unjustly fired because he had exercised his inalienable right to voice his opinion outside of the media for which he works when the channel’s management announced shortly after this meeting that it had unilaterally terminated his contract.
The Union noted that despite the significant controversies that have resulted, the channel’s management has done nothing to address the repeated attacks on Morocco and its institutions that have been made by certain journalists who work for the same channel and for sports channels that report to it.
This indicates, according to the SNPM, particularly in light of the abusive decision made against colleague Abdessamad Nasser, that these careless activities had management’s approval.
The Union stated that it has come to the conclusion that “an Algerian lobby inside and outside the channel, guiding these sordid games,” and that it has verified that the Algerian embassy in Doha has intervened and exerted pressure on the channel to adopt a position that is hostile to Moroccan interests in both the channel’s internal policies and its media output.
Following this unfair decision, the Union declared that it will send letters to the General Union of Arab Journalists and the International Federation of Journalists as well as a protest note to Al Jazeera’s management and the appropriate Center for Press Freedom. In the near future, the SNPM also plans to set up a sit-in demonstration in front of the Al Jazeera office in Rabat.