Algeria's official news agency Algérie Presse Service (APS) offers a large volume of articles on Morocco in its International section, which may denote a certain fixation with the Moroccan kingdom, according to reports related to the monitoring of this issue.
These reports, collected in social media posts such as that of the Twitter account @DirNiyya, indicate that out of more than 4,600 articles published between 2021 and 2023 in APS's International section, 3,074 are about Morocco. Indeed, a significant proportion of the articles mentioning other countries are actually about the Kingdom, with several countries such as Belgium and Mexico only being mentioned because of their links with Morocco. In addition, some of the information disseminated in this case branded Morocco as a dictatorship and was clearly negative.
As a result, access to the Algérie Presse Service website has been blocked to Moroccan Internet users for several days. This ban came into effect some 48 hours after the publication of a tweet denouncing Algerian propaganda against Morocco through figures.
This could be a sign of Algerian propaganda against Morocco for years. According to the data released for the last two years, more than 60% of the international content of the APS is related to Morocco. These alarming figures could have to do with Algeria's propaganda campaign against Morocco, using its public media as a weapon
[THREAD] L'obsession algérienne ?? sur le Maroc ?? démontrée par les chiffres.— ⛥ (@DirNiyya) March 1, 2023
La propagande algérienne contre le Maroc est avérée depuis des années et pour l'illustrer, voici une comparaison impartiale des deux agences de presse nationales sur 2 années de publication. pic.twitter.com/oHCvJRG7v1
These reports also suggest a comparison between the APS and Morocco's official news agency MAP, which shows that the latter is much less concerned with Algerian issues in its reporting. While out of more than 4,600 articles published since 2021, 3,074 refer to Morocco in the APS, the MAP agency, out of 2,300 articles published since 2021, devotes only 104 to Algeria.
This could be a sign of the Algerian government's use of public media to attack Morocco, its great political rival in the Maghreb. In this sense, several analysts and experts have pointed to the Algerian regime's tight control over the media to serve its interests. In fact, Algeria is ranked 134th out of 180 in the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) World Press Freedom Index 2022.
Relations between the two North African neighbours have deteriorated significantly. Proof of this is that Algeria broke off relations with Morocco in August 2021 after accusing the Moroccan kingdom of alleged interference in its internal affairs and "hostile acts".
Political differences run deep on many policy issues. Chief among them is the question of Western Sahara. Morocco proposes a formula of broad autonomy for the Sahrawi territory under Moroccan sovereignty, respecting UN resolutions, in order to put an end to the Sahrawi conflict that has lasted for more than four decades after the end of the Spanish colonial period. The Moroccan kingdom has received much support for its proposal on the international stage, including from countries such as the United States, Germany, the United Arab Emirates and even Spain. In contrast, Algeria supports the position of the Polisario Front, an ally of the Algerian state, which advocates holding a referendum on independence for the Sahrawi people. A consultation that is difficult to implement, as various experts have pointed out, and which has less support at the international level.
Morocco currently has more diplomatic clout, and that weighs heavily. Algeria could therefore be trying to launch information through official media aimed at destabilising its neighbour in the Maghreb and tarnishing the image of the Moroccan kingdom.