NexTV news Africa has reported that Moroccan broadcaster Hit Radio has acquired two audiovisual licenses that will allow the company to launch Télé Jeunesse and Télé Découverte shortly.
The move to grant a license to independent and privately owned Hit Radio is seen as a major breakthrough for privately owned media in the North African nation. The awarding of the licenses comes 12 years after the accreditation of Medi TV and 16 years after the law to end state monopoly over media was passed.
In 2002, Morocco passed Law 2-02-663 with a stated aim of abolishing "state monopoly of broadcasting and television,” however it was not until 2006 that the first licenses for audiovisual broadcasting were awarded. Since the awarding of a TV license to Medi1 TV in 2006, no private television channel has been accredited in Morocco.
The main TV networks dedicated to the kingdom are distributed on satellite with licenses acquired abroad. Until 2010, a full four years since obtaining its operating license, Medi1 TV channel was broadcast via satellite, before complaints to the government regulator saw them finally obtain permission to transmit on the terrestrial network.
With the launch of Hit Radio’s two upcoming TV stations, more private channel operators will be optimistic about getting regulatory approval to set up operations in Morocco.
Founded by Younes Boumehdi in 2006 after a long drawn struggle to obtain a license, Hit Radio started operations in Rabat as one of Morocco’s first independent radio stations. The station gained popularity as the first youth-oriented mainstream radio channel playing pop, rock, and rap musical genres in the French-speaking country.