RNW editor Anass Bendriff
RNW's "Mr Infographics" Anass Bendrif
RNW

Moroccan political parties on social media? #fail

RNW’s Anass Bendriff exposes a major law in Morocco's political establishment: the inability to reach young voters
It was destined to go viral. And it did. The RNW infographic spread like wildfire in Morocco. It instantly popped up on other websites and in newspapers around the country and elsewhere in the Arab World.

The key message was simple: political parties in Morocco are making minimal use of social media. The hidden message: they’re failing to reach a substantial segment of their electorate: young voters.

“I was baffled by the results,” says producer Anass Bendrif. “They showed a total lack of social media strategy among the seven political parties. One of them didn’t even have a website”. 

“Infographics are a rewarding tool for journalists: they enable us to create news simply by interpreting data and displaying them in an attractive way.”

Shunning politics
Small wonder, Bendrif thought, that so few Moroccan youngsters can relate to the political establishment. That so many have turned away from the entire democratic process.

Because that was his trigger for creating the infographic: the paradox that while most young Moroccans he met showed great political engagement, only a few were actually politically active.

When it comes to social media activity, the PJD (blue) eclipses six other leading Moroccan political parties © RNW

Eye-opener

“I opted for an infographic,” Anass Bendrif says, “for a clear and simple illustration to hammer home the central message: that only one party in Morocco was taking social media relatively seriously.” The secondary message: that most parties across the political spectrum were ignoring the 9 million Moroccan youths who’re active on Facebook, he happily left for others to pick up and analyse.

Most parties across the political spectrum were ignoring the 9 million Moroccan youths who’re active on Facebook.

The 2011 landslide victory of Morocco’s leading islamist Justice and Development Party reinforced the message. The PJD was largely ignored by the official media so the party resorted to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube instead. By doing so, it mobilised the young vote.

Other parties now acknowledge they’re better off following the PJD example, Bendrif says. His call for a stronger political commitment to social media won him kudos from many young party members in Morocco. The infographic has been an eye-opener to the political establishment and most parties have drawn up a social media strategy. The only party previously without a website is now online.

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