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Media, ICT as a Tool for Minority Empowerment in Morocco

"Morocco’s newly launched Tamazight TV channel aims to incorporate minority communities into mainstream culture and communication. The channel will conduct programs in the Berber dialect (Tamazight) which has been largely excluded from public and private institutions. As much as 28% of the country’s population only speaks Tamazight and the launch of this particular TV station points toward a larger trend in using Information Communication Technology (ICT) to represent the voice of the marginalized."

"Conventional forms of the media as well as new media forums will provide the most important and far reaching impetus for Amazigh languages. In 1994, the National Television Station started broadcasting the news in Tamazight three times a day and it was this initiative that planted the seeds for a separate and independent ‘Tamazight TV Channel’. In the field of new media, the Francis Marion University is currently working on an on-line encyclopedia that will preserve and implement the use of Tamazight in computer programs. The internet has also made it possible to create a virtual community for the once scattered Amazigh in North Africa. There are several dozen websites that discuss the Amazigh identity and potential strategies to implement Tamazight into school curriculum and mainstream media. Even the availability of Amazigh music on-line has popularized their language and culture amongst Moroccan youth."

Implications from SFG-ME:

"ICT ventures could: - Uplift and popularize the image of Amazighs in Morocco, who are currently perceived as beneath their Arab brethren. - Help preserve existing traditions and dialects. - Shape a new and contemporary identity for the younger generation of Amazigh. - Provide a platform for further social reforms and linguistic inclusion in Maghreb countries. - Make the culture more accessible to migrants and reduce ‘Berber’ stereotypes from outsider communities."

"In the future, ICT or the media can prove to be a strong tool for the empowerment of other ethno- linguistic minorities. The Kurdish population for instance, numbering roughly 36 million, accounts for the fourth largest ethnicity living in the Middle East, after Arabs, Persians and Turks. Kurds are currently scattered all over the Middle East and their language and culture are extremely understated. Other ethnic minorities in the Middle East like Druze as well as Bedouin communities have a relatively softer presence in the region as well and can use ICT to create, evolve and expand their identities."

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