Three years after the Gaddafi regime’s fall on 23 October 2011, Reporters Without Borders is launching an awareness campaign about the persecution of journalists and news media in Libya. Cases of targeted violence against journalists have soared since the end of the Libyan revolution, making it more and more difficult for the media to work in an increasingly chaotic environment.
Exactly three years after the Gaddafi regime’s fall on 23 October 2011, Libya is today amid mounting political and military anarchy, and the hopes raised by Col.’s overthrow are giving way to another dark episode in Libyan history. Journalists, both professional and non-professional, are among the leading victims of this instability. They are being hounded, physically attacked and even murdered. Covering the on-going turmoil, reporting human rights violations by the various armed groups or even just describing a particular faction’s military progress or political position exposes journalists to great danger. Carrying a camera or a press card now requires considerable courage. In response to this alarming situation, Reporters Without Borders is launching a campaign visual – designed by the JWT Tunis ad agency and available in Arabic, French and English – to highlight the terrible plight of journalists working in Libya. The visual shows the re-enactment of the scene of a journalist’s murder together with the words: “Not seeing news from Libya any more? He did try though.” Its aim is to make the general public aware of what is happening to journalists in Libya. Since the end of the Libyan revolution, Reporters Without Borders has registered seven murders, 37 abductions and 127 physical attacks or acts of harassment targeting journalists. Libya was ranked 137th out of 180 countries in the 2014 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index, six places lower than in 2013. Reporters Without Borders defends freedom of information, a freedom that is an essential condition for any transition to democracy. It is crucial for Libya’s future that all political, military and civilian actors respect freedom of information. Without freedom of information, there is no independent watchdog and without an independent watchdog, there is no democracy.