Science & Technology

The Nine Percent Nation


Iran isn't the only Islamic country where dissent is blooming online. The Online Journalism Review just published an interesting story about Morocco's Twitter and Facebook dissidents, called the Nine Percenters.

No, they don't have anything to do with the Five Percenters. They got their name this way:

[O]n August 1, the Ministry of Communication seized 100,000 copies of the provocative French-language magazine TelQuel and its Arabic sister-pub Nichane because they contained a poll on King Mohammed VI's popularity. Conducted on the tenth anniversary of the king's ascension, the survey, it has since been revealed, showed a 91% approval rating for the king (known as le Roi Cool, or simply M6, by the more affectionate of his subjects.)

Hisham's hashtag, "#9pcMaroc," refers to the remaining 9%.

It might seem baffling that a monarch would suppress a poll that swung so overwhelmingly in his favor; not so in Morocco, where, along with the disputed territory of the Western Sahara, the person of the king is a subject strictly off-limits to journalists. "Even if the poll had shown 100 per cent favorable, the response would have been the same," communications minister Khalid Naciri told The National. "The monarchy is not the center of a public debate."

[Hat tip: Mike Riggs.]