January 22, 2014 - Updated on January 20, 2016

Journalists constantly prey to grave threats and violence

Reporters Without Borders is deeply shocked by a series of acts of violence and intimidation targeting Libyan journalists in the last past few weeks. The most recent incident was the abduction of three local TV journalists while they were covering clashes at the Tamehint military base, around 30 km outside the southwestern city of Sabha, on 18 January. Everything indicates that the three Fezzan TV journalists – Zeidan Al-Mahdi, Adel Al-Sharif and Abdallah Mohamed Abu Azbah – were kidnapped by Gaddafi loyalists who overran the base. Fezzan TV presenter Nabil As-Sokni said they were released 24 hours later and were immediately hospitalized because they were badly beaten by their abductors while held. A rocket-propelled grenade was fired at the Tripoli apartment of Mahmoud Al-Misrati, the editor of the independent daily Libya Al-Jadida, at around 3 a.m. on 15 January. According to Agence France-Presse, which spoke to Misrati, “the grenade narrowly missed its target, the window of his apartment, and hit a pillar without causing much damage.” Misrati has been the victim of an all-out campaign of threats by telephone and on his social network pages for the past six months. It has ranged from intimidatory messages to death threats and threats against his family. Mohamed Al-Gharyani, the satellite TV station Al-Aan’s Tripoli bureau chief, was threatened last month by gunmen attached to the interior ministry after the station broadcast a programme in its “Libya Tawa” (Libya Now) series in which a former political prisoner talked about the conditions in which she had been held . The gunmen insulted Gharyani, accused him of being “secular,” threatened to close the bureau and ordered him to leave Libya. Gharyani has repeatedly been threatened in connection with his work in recent months. Nearly three years after the start of the anti-Gaddafi revolution, the political situation in Libya is extremely unstable and the security environment is bordering on chaos. In the almost complete absence of the rule of law, journalists are continually exposed to intimidation, threats, violence, abduction and even murder. Reporters Without Borders reiterates its deep concern and urges the transitional government to end the reign of the militias. The authorities must establish a reliable and transparent system of judicial responsibility in order to break the cycle of impunity prevailing in Libya and to guarantee the safety of journalists.