A media watchdog has criticized Morocco for jailing the publisher of a magazine that reported on the health of the North African country's king.

The Paris-based Reporters-Sans-Frontieres group voiced "deep worry" at the jailing of Al-Michaal publisher Driss Chahtane and the sentencing of two of his colleagues for an article questioning the health of Mohammed VI. The king had been reported slightly ill by authorities during the holy month of Ramadan this summer.

It was not clear Friday how long the publisher would spend in jail. Morocco, usually one of the Arab world's most liberal nations, has stepped up police and judicial pressure against journalists, most notably those who discuss or portray the royal family in caricatures.