Morocco is under pressure from children to end a ban on Skype and Whatsapp calls

Digital Content

Photos of children as young as 2 years old are the face of a Facebook campaign against Morocco’s decision to block residents from using voice over IP (VoIP) apps like Skype, Viber or Whatsapp to make free phone calls.

The”Stop the VOIP ban in Morocco” Facebook page features photos of young children with personal messages appealing to Morocco’s King Mohammed and prime minister Benkirane with touching stories of not being able to call or receive calls from their relatives overseas. The messages are in English, French and Arabic.

The Facebook page is just one of several online protests against local regulator ANRT’s Jan.7 decision. It claims the VoIP calls don’t meet “legislative requirements”. But ANRT also cited revenue losses of local telecom companies like Inwi, Maroc Telecom and Meditel. This seemed to confirm Moroccans’ suspicions the regulator has been acting at the behest of the phone companies rather than looking out for the interest of ordinary Moroccans.

The VoIP call ban has infuriated Moroccans, with some taking their protests elsewhere online, including a petition that has attracted more than 10,000 signatures.

Marouane Alaoui, a computer engineer, started ‘Operation Unlike’ on Facebook calling on his fellow social media users to ‘unlike’ the corporate pages of the three telecom providers, hoping it will convince them to rethink their implementation of the regulator’s ban. Half a million likes have been rapidly wiped off their pages, according to a tracker that he also created.
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