Moroccan Communications Minister, Mostafa Khalfy
Casablanca – Raja Battaoui
A trial has begun against foreigners who have toured archaeological sites in the Morocco to shoot pornographic films. These films are not only linked to sex tourism but are also crimes according
to Moroccan law. The hearing marks an intensive censorship campaign waged against those involved in filming pornographic movies for commercial purposes.
Arabtoday met with the Moroccan communications minister and government spokesman, Mostafa Khalfy to find out the reasons for this growing phenomenon, the government’s response and what they plan to do next.
AT: The Moroccan arena has currently witnessed a series of trials, related to filming "porn" movies. As a communications minister, what is the initial plan you are thinking of in order to address the phenomenon?
Khalfy: First of all, we cannot include these works in the same category as art and cinema. Therefore the matter is beyond the scope of the powers of the Ministry of Information and Communication as long as it's not about films and production companies, but those who film such movies are doing an explicit illegal action and should be punished by criminal law. The communications ministry has nothing to do with the matter.
AT: A Canadian site stated that Morocco is the cheapest country to film pornography in with an estimated cost of $111.57 per shot, on contrary to France for example where it costs is $859.52, is this the main temptation for makers and producers of porn to come to Morocco?
Khalfy: This is not accurate information, so I cannot give my opinion based on it. In Europe, these films are generally licensed to be produced, while in Morocco there are individual cases, and then cannot be classified in the category of film.
AT: What steps have been taken by the government of Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane to eliminate pornographic productions and does it need a long-term plan?
Khalfy: The Moroccan position on this issue was set before Benkirane. The law criminalises such attempts by some to turn Morocco into a porn yard. We also have an explicit position on the criminalisation of filming pornographic movies for religious, moral and humanitarian considerations. The matter is settled from our part. We did what must be done, and we are sure that such practices are not welcomed in Morocco. The security authorities should take responsibility to intensify efforts to confront these extraneous offences.
AT: Do not you think that the promotion of such acts maligns the reputation of Morocco and insults your Islamist government?
Khalfy: Such things do not harm the reputation of Morocco and its government, because we do not encourage these practices, but we fight them strongly. We have developed the Moroccan Cinematographic Centre, whose mission is to oversee all films to be screened in Morocco. The movie will be evaluated by this centre according to ethical and professional standards before being granted a licence, which allows the movie to begin filming scenes in Morocco. Unfortunately, pornographic filmmakers, and many others, are trying to avoid going through the Film Centre, so they do it illegally and we make them accountable by law.
AT: We investigated the views of the Moroccan people about the phenomenon. Most predict that the government will eliminate the filming of pornography in Morocco, what's your comment on the matter?
Khalfy: We do what we can, but Moroccan society is the only one capable of eliminating the phenomenon of pornography in their homes. Moroccans should abandon blaming others as no one has a magic wand, and they must contribute their efforts to eliminate the phenomenon and its causes. I believe that every Moroccan citizen has his own ideas, which he hopes to be achieved, and will not be achieved until everyone in society contributes to change, and they must not sit and wait for others to do everything.