The largest newspaper in Morocco, Al-Massae, reaches 170,000 households every day and is independent of the government or any political party. The closest newspaper in circulation rates in Morocco, Assabah, only reaches 125,000 households a day. Al-Massae became the most popular newspaper in Morroco in 2012 after Al Jazeera, a popular television channel in that region, named it as such. Since then, Al-Massae has kept that position and continues to grow.
Despite being the most popular newspaper in the nation, Al-Massae is relatively young with Rachid Niny creating the newspaper in 2006. Like newspapers in America, Al-Massae also features an online presence with a website and PDF versions of the daily newspaper available for purchase.
Niny created the newspaper in 2006 after working at Al-Alam, another newspaper in Morocco, that had a political affiliation. He also wrote a book and worked for 2M-TV, a government-owned television channel in Morocco. Al-Massae gave Niny a chance to report without any political affiliation or government ownership, but still found himself getting in trouble with the Moroccan government.
In 2008, Niny had to pay the government twice in fines for reporting on “defamation” and “public injury” when he reported on a public judge and a dean of the Rabat association in a negative light. But Niny’s biggest run-in with the law came in 2011 when he was charged with “disinformation” after criticizing the Moroccan Intelligence Agencies. Niny ended up spending a year in jail, and was released in the April of 2012.
This paints the landscape of media in Morocco. Newspapers and television stations can be independent of the government, but that does not mean that there will be no consequences for the way the public sector is covered. Niny wrote a few articles detailing the negative side of the Moroccan government and paid for it by spending time in jail and paying the fines with his own money.