Reporters Without Borders is worried about what may have happened to Syrian journalist Rana Akbani, who has been missing in the east of the country since 28 March. In an interview with her that was broadcast by Al-Libya TV, a presenter accused her of spying.
A resident in Libya for the past 15 years or so, Akbani works for the arts and culture section of the Libyan newspaper Al-Shams. In the Al-Libya TV interview, which has been posted online (http://almanaramedia.blogspot.com/2011/03/blog-post_7932.html), presenter Hala Misrati accuses her of lacking objectivity and lying in her coverage of street demonstrations in Benghazi.
Referring to her Syrian nationality in the interview, Misrati also accuses her of collaborating with foreign countries, which is tantamount to accusing her of being a spy. Akbani responds that she has been living in eastern Libya for a long time and rebuts the allegations of disinformation.
The Libyan authorities meanwhile yesterday deported Michael Georgy, a US journalist working for Reuters, without giving any reason. Normally based in Pakistan, Georgy arrived in Tripoli on 28 February with a group of foreign journalists who were invited by the Gaddafi government and who have been kept under close surveillance ever since.
Georgy was escorted to the Tunisian border after being notified the day before that he was to be deported. Reuters said it regretted his expulsion and the fact that no reason was given.