from the no,-really dept
However, I don't think any proposal we've seen is crazier than what's happening in Morocco, where apparently newspaper publishers are lashing out at anything they can think to blame in response to decreasing revenue -- including people in cafes sharing newspapers with others. And thus, a compliant government has now banned the practice. No one's putting any spin on this other than "OMG, newspapers are making less money, and let's 'protect' them."
Members of the Moroccan Federation of Newspaper Publishers (FMEJ) said the habit of "leaving newspapers behind in public places" was costing their industry $150m each year in lost revenue.I always love the use of "lost revenue" as a descriptor for "Hey, people aren't paying you as much any more because they've found better things to spend their money on." It's not lost revenue. You didn't misplace it. You just are making less because people have found better things to spend on. But, no matter, when the newspaper publishers complain, the government quickly leaps into action.
The habit of sharing newspapers, leaving them lying around and generally trying to avoid paying for them was "bleeding the sector," they claimed in an appeal to the Moroccan government.
As a result, the country's communications minster has agreed to ban providing newspapers for free in cafes, as well as lending them.It seems worth noting (though it's not in the linked article), that Mustapha Khalfi's prior job was (you guessed it!), working as the editor-in-chief of a Moroccan newspaper.
Mustapha Khalfi said newspaper editors were "suffering" and that the government needed to try and "limit the damage."
"The figures demonstrate just how serious it is," he said in an interview with the Moroccan news website HuffPo Maghreb.
Khalfi, ever one to scratch the back of his former employer, has also announced plans to subsidize newspapers and to create a commission to "persuade" people to buy more newspapers. Should I petition the government to see if they'll get more people to support Techdirt as well?
The Telegraph article linked above includes lots of quotes from people in cafes all agreeing that this is a completely ridiculous regulation, but apparently that doesn't matter to the government, because "lost revenue!"