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Morocco to Aid Culture Sector Struck by COVID-19

Morocco to Aid Culture Sector Struck by COVID-19

Wednesday, 1 July, 2020 - 09:30
Young people on the coast of Rabat after the Moroccan authorities relaxed coronavirus restrictions at the end of June. AP
Rabat - Asharq Al-Awsat

Moroccan Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Othman Al-Firdous has revealed the extent of damage the cultural sector sustained during the coronavirus pandemic, and announced a government plan to support artists and writers.

Al-Firdous, in a meeting with the education and communication committee of the Moroccan parliament, said that the number of cultural transactions dropped by 66% in light of the pandemic which interrupted various cultural activities and the film industry.

He added that the fund, which backs cultural activities, shrank by 95% because it used to be funded by the proceeds collected from visitors to Moroccan historical sites.

Al-Firdous unveiled a rescue plan to back the faltering sector.

This comes at a time when workers in the film industry, including artists, writers, film directors, and technicians, suffer from a state of interruption in work as a number of film festivals have been canceled.

Foreign filming in Morocco has stopped, and foreign cinema investment has declined, affecting the sector’s hard currency returns and the revitalization of tourism.

“Intellectuals and writers must be respected,” Al-Firdous said, adding that the value of state support for writers and publishers stood at around $1.1 million.

More so, around $650,000 were disbursed for film production during quarantine.

Al-Firdous affirmed his keenness to maintain the support of the film industry during 2020 by maintaining a budget of approximately $7.5 million for local film production, $3 million to support film festivals, and $1 million to support movie theaters.

As for theater, music and visual arts, Al-Firdous confirmed the disbursement of $2.2 million for artists and affiliated groups.

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