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(Editors note: On Friday, the Trump administration announced that Morocco will be recognizing Israel and that, in exchange, the U.S. will recognize Morocco’s claim to a disputed region in the Western Sahara. So, we are bringing back a story Global Journalist did last year about that region and the fight its inhabitants have been making for independence.)

Nearly all of Africa was decolonized in the 1960s and 1970s. But there is one slice of the continent that wasn’t. That’s the sparsely populated territory of Western Sahara, a Colorado-sized swathe of land in northwest Africa.

When Spain’s colonial government left in 1975, Moroccan troops moved in – denying the indigenous Sahrawi people an independent state. Forty-four years later, around half the Sahrawi live in exile in refugee camps in Algeria – and Moroccan settlers now outnumber the Sahrawi in their old homeland.

Read more: Western Sahara’s forgotten refugees

With Morocco imposing a news blockade on the disputed territory and making diplomatic progress in having its claims to the territory recognized, a long-delayed independence referendum seems more remote than ever.

On this edition of Global Journalist, a look at Western Sahara’s frozen conflict – and the effects of a news blockade that has prevented independent media from reporting on the remote region.

Joining the program:

  • Stephen Zunes, professor of politics and international relations, University of San Francisco
  • Nazha El Khalidi, journalist and human rights activist, Equipe Media, Western Sahara
  • Alfonso Armada, president, Reporters Without Borders – Spain
  • Maria Carrión, executive director, FiSahara Film Festival

Assistant producers: Laura Miserez, Arianna Suardi
Supervising producer: Trevor Hook
Visual editor: Benjamin Brink Jr.

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