Rabat – Golda El Khoury, the director of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) office in Rabat and Mohamed Benabdelkader, the Moroccan minister delegate in charge of administration reform signed an action plan on the right to access to information on Monday in Rabat.The plan is part of the implementation of a cooperation agreement signed by UNESCO and Morocco on October 30, 2017 in Paris, to launch joint programs allowing better access to information, reported Maghreb Arab Press (MAP).The main objective of the action plan is to enable Moroccan citizens to access “detailed and transparent” information and gain close knowledge about updates and events in Morocco to exercise their own voices and make decisions based on accurate data and contribute to the democratic process in the country. The plan also seeks to reform and develop media and communication services, provide training to authorities in charge of relaying information to the public, and produce a guide to the proper use of law 13.31.Read Also: Freedom on the Net: Moroccan Internet Users Are ‘Partially’ FreeLaw 13.31, contains 8 articles dictating that all Moroccan citizens have the right to access information, and aiming to ensure transparency, counter corruption, boost the administration’s openness, and establish a culture of good governance and democracy. The agreement strives to thoroughly implement the law as it is “a fundamental right for every person in every country,” said Golda.The action plan is in the framework of UNESCO’s intergovernmental Information for All Programme (IFAP), established in 2001, through which “member and partner governments pledge to harness the new opportunities of the information age to create equitable societies through better access to information.”Although the Moroccan 2011 Constitution stipulates the right to information, Moroccans’ access to information continues to be limited.Morocco enjoys partial freedom when it comes to access to content on the internet, according to the 2018 Freedom on the Net report.In the country, the state can shut down publications “prejudicial to Islam, the monarchy, territorial integrity, or public order” and issue prison sentences and heavy fines on publishers of infringing content. News criticizing the monarchy does not exist in Morocco, notes the report.
Health authorities today issued a dengue alert as heavy rain lashed the country and more rain was predicted next month.Health Ministry spokesman W.M.D Wanninayaka said that over 10,000 people have been affected by dengue so far this year. Wanninayaka said that health authorities expect a steep rise in the number of people affected by dengue over the next two months.Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena met officials in Colombo on Friday to discuss concerns over the spread of dengue and the measures to be taken to eradicate dengue mosquito breeding grounds around the country. Over the first three months of 2011 Sri Lanka 3088 people were affected by dengue but that figure has risen to 9412 during the first three months of this year, the Health Ministry said.Wanninayaka said that as of last week the figure for this year stood at 10048 with 46 deaths.The Health Ministry also found that students in Colombo faced the risk of contracting dengue as the April school vacation drew to a close. As a result the Health Ministry today declared 25 administrative divisions in the country including the capital Colombo as high risk areas for contracting dengue. The authorities had also found that over 100 bare lands in the capital had also become mosquito breeding grounds and so legal action is to be filed against the land owners. Areas around some city Schools which remained closed for the vacation were not cleaned and the authorities said they had found several dengue mosquito breeding grounds. He said that the number of people affected by dengue during the first three months of this year alone was higher than the figure seen during the same period last year.