In early 2017, I was among two candidates for a competitive reporting job in Morocco – the rare kind that included a livable salary, health insurance, and paid time off. The other person vying for the position was my friend Omar Radi. His vast experience reporting in Morocco, along with his sharp eye for digging up scoops and his ability to gain the trust of even the most highly placed sources made me certain that I wouldn’t stand a chance.
We playfully joked about being in competition.
with one another but, ultimately he withdrew his name from being considered for the position when he learned that he’d have to refrain from expressing political views publicly.
« Are you out of your mind? You know a position like this almost never opens up »
I told him. Neither of us weree strangers to the life of austerity that comes with being an independent freelance journalist who pushes the limits of the redlines in Morocco. Unwavering in his decision, not even the possibility of a significant boost to his income could convince him otherwise. « It’s yours, »he told me.
Even as I worked in the position that we previously competed for, Omar would invest his time in reading my reporting, pointing out strengths and weakness, offering to share his contacts,…
.as well as the seed of a scoop that could bloom into a ground-breaking story. This is the kind of journalism that drove Omar’s work and ethics: cooperative not competitive, where information should be accessible and not proprietary, and to never stop
.asking questions. Not only were these the qualities of his journalistic work, but they are also among the reasons why he currently sits in prison. For years, I followed Omar’s work, including his coverage of king MVI pardoning a serial child rapist,…
his deep dives into the entangled world of business and politics in Morocco, exposing corruption, and more. When I read an article written by
@OmarRADI, I, like many others, knew that the information was coming from a trustworthy voice who took .
great risks to investigate stories that many Moroccan journalists steer away from out of fear and self-censorship. Most importantly, I knew that the principles of truth and social justice were always the driving forces of his work.