When you first enter Morocco, you are required to fill out a form and fill in fields such as your name, your flight number, your departure airport, the place you’re going to stay in Morocco, reason for traveling and your occupation. In most cases feel free to write down your correct occupation. However, not every time might it be a good idea.
Jailing local journalists in Morocco
isn’t very uncommon practice. Back in 2003 journalists were sentenced to prison for insulting the monarch. In 2007 two journalists were sentenced to prison for their article titled „Secret reports behind the state of alert in Morocco
Two other Moroccan journalists went on trial on charges of defaming Islam and offending public morality for publishing a collection of jokes in an article titled ''How Moroccans Laugh at Religion, Sex and Politics.
In 2008 a colonial court in Gulemim, Morocco
sentenced the Saharawi journalist and writer Mustapha Abd-Daiem three years for expressing his political opinions.
Just to mention a few major cases. And that’s just when talking about local journalists.
In 2004, a reporter Tor Dagfinn Dommersnes and photographer Fredrik Refvem of the Norwegian daily Stavanger Aftenbladet
were expelled from the country (most likely for their reporting on Western Sahara).
In 2005 a Spanish journalist was sent out of Laayoune, Western Sahara after she had lied about her occupation to the police.
In 2008 a Spanish photographer working for Reuters was beaten up by the police when covering a demonstration by unemployed university graduates.
Not only journalists individually are being “annoyed”, there are actually a number of topics you aren’t even allowed to touch in the Moroccan media such as the monarchy, the army, Islam and Western Sahara. Journalists still doing that (or anything else not right in the eyes of the most powerful [the king]) are being legally harassed.
The situation isn’t good in Morocco
generally, even though allegedly they are working on towards becoming a more democratic country and give press more freedom. The situation is even worse in Western Sahara where the “Press Law prohibits criticism of the monarchy and Islam and effectively bars material challenging the government's position on the status of Western Sahara.”
Other foreign journalists have been sent out of the country. Not always do journalists need to hide their occupation, however, considering the „press freedom” in Morocco, it might often be a wise choice. Thus you can probably see a lot of foreign „students”, „English teachers” and alike in Morocco.