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.

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.