News

January 22, 2019

AP photographer killed while covering clashes between militias in Tripoli

After an Associated Press photographer was killed while covering fighting in Tripoli on 19 January, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reiterates its appeal to Tripoli’s authorities to protect journalists and calls on journalists to take the maximum security precautions when operating in this dangerous war zone.

Mohamed Ben Khalifa, 36, a photojournalist who had covered the uprisings in Libya for many other international media outlets and news agencies as well as the AP, was hit by shrapnel from an exploding shell while covering clashes between two rival militias. Witnesses said he was not wearing a helmet and was fatally injured by the shrapnel that struck the back of his head.

We offer our condolences to the family and colleagues of Mohamed Ben Khalifa, the 19th journalist to have been killed in Libya since 2011,” said Souhaieb Khayati, the head of RSF’s North Africa desk.

We again call on the Serraj administration to protect journalists and to prioritize their safety and we urge journalists to treat their security as a personal matter. Assessing risks before going into the field, wearing a helmet and bulletproof vest, and seeking shelter when the fighting intensifies are all essential when covering a war zone such as Libya.”

RSF published an updated version of its Safety Guide for Journalists in partnership with UNESCO in December 2015. It provides professional and non-professional journalists with advice on dealing with the dangers they many encounter in the field.

Libya is ranked 162nd out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2018 World Press Freedom Index.