By John Thorne
RABAT, Morocco â“ Moroccans unable to access the video-sharing Web site YouTube since last week expressed fears Tuesday that the government had stepped up its campaign to restrict independent media.
Moroccan bloggers were surprised to discover they could no longer open YouTube on Friday and promptly launched online forums to speculate about whether the site had been censured.
Some Internet users were skeptical that a technical problem was to blame, noting that the site went down after people posted videos critical of Morocco's treatment of the people of Western Sahara, a territory that Morocco took control of in 1975 after Spain, the colonial power, withdrew.
âœThe government should not interfere in free media,â said Hicham, a member of a pro-democracy NGO who only gave his first name. âœIf Morocco is to be a practicing democracy, this sort of thing shouldn't happen.â
Associated Press Writer Marco Oved in Paris contributed to this report.