Reporters Without Borders deplores Friday 15 November’s deadly violence in Tripoli, in which Saleh Iyad Hafiyana, a photographer with the Fasatu news agency was among the many killed and several journalists were among the wounded.
According to news agencies, the casualties occurred when members of a militia originally from the city of Misrata opened fire on a peaceful demonstration outside its headquarter in the south Tripoli neighbourhood of Gharghur that had been called to demand an end to the reign of the katiba (militias).
More than 40 people were killed and hundreds were wounded. Issam Az-Zbir of a Spanish news agency and Abdel Man’im Al-Maryami were among the journalists who were injured while covering the violence in Gharghur.
Members of an armed group arrested Tarek Al-Huni, the head of the state-owned news agency Al-Wataniya, when he went to Shari’ Zawiya Hospital to assist the wounded. He was held for nearly six hours at the former internal security headquarters in Tripoli.
Gunmen stormed the headquarters of Tubactus TV, located in Gharghur, causing serious damage, the head of the station said.
Nearly three years after the Libyan revolution began on 17 February 2011, the new “free” Libya is in the throes of growing political instability and violence that is affecting all of its citizens, including media personnel.
Reporters Without Borders emphasizes the crucial role that journalists play in any democratic society and hails the courage they show when covering events on the streets in order to keep the public informed.
“We urge the Libyan authorities to do everything in their power to quickly end the cycle of violence prevailing in Libya and to ensure that journalists are able to practice their profession without being threatened, arrested, injured or laying down their lives,” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire said.
Libya is subject to national and international obligations – including article 14 of the Constitutional Declaration proclaimed by the National Transitional Council on 8 August 2011 and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which it is a party – to respect and ensure respect for freedom of expression, association, assembly and information.
The new Libya must not abandon its commitment to democracy and its undertaking to establish the rule of law with respect for fundamental freedoms and human rights.
Libya is ranked 131st out of 179 countries in the 2013 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.