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Ahmed Benchemsi

Ahmed Benchemsi is a Moroccan journalist and media entrepreneur. He was the founder and publisher of TelQuel magazine and its Arabic edition, Nichane, both top-rated publications repeatedly subject to harassment and pressure from the Moroccan monarchy. He is also the co-founder of the irreverent web magazine Free Arabs. Benchemsi’s magazines have been praised by the Los Angeles Times for their “uncanny ability to set the agenda and push the boundaries of acceptable discourse in Morocco,” covering normally taboo topics such as contemporary slavery, drug trafficking, Quranic reinterpretations, the treatment of religious and sexual minorities, and the endemic corruption and repression of Morocco’s government. Benchemsi has been sued, interrogated, and threatened with death as a result of his views. His persecution has earned him support from American and European human rights groups and free press watchdogs, as well as coverage from the BBC, Al Jazeera, The Economist, The Guardian, Le Monde, and El País. He is a recipient of the prestigious Samir Kassir Award for independent Middle Eastern journalism. He has twice been a visiting fellow at Newsweek and was a visiting scholar at Stanford University’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law. He is currently the Advocacy and Communications Director for Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa Division.

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