Social Networking and Freedom of Speech

Here are some caricatures and political cartoons mocking King Mohammad VI taken from the Facebook page titled “Mohammad VI, My Liberty is More Sacred Than You.” The title of the Facebook group reflects the idea that until the 2011 Constitutional Reforms the Moroccan King was viewed as sacred. Social networking sites were essential to the organization of the student protests that began last year in Morocco.

Earlier this month a teenager was arrested and appeared in court to face accusations of “defaming Morocco’s sacred values” by posting unflattering images and videos of the king on Facebook. The arrest of Walid Bahomane has inflamed free speech advocates. It also addressed what power the Moroccan government should have over social networking sites. I  think is is fascinating that Facebook can be used to spark government and political reform. Facebook is not an innocuous website that teenagers use to socialize. Facebook can be made highly political and employed as a vehicle for societal change.