RSF draws UN’s attention to press freedom violation in Libya since 2016
After providing the UN Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Libya with a detailed report on press freedom violations in Libya, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on the UN’s experts to investigate the very disturbing situation of journalists and media outlets in this North African country.
The report provided on 28 January documents violations of press freedom and the many abuses against journalists in Libya since 2016. On the basis of information gathered from local sources, RSF details threats and attacks against 12 journalists and 11 media outlets in particular, including extrajudicial executions, arbitrary arrests and acts of intimidation. None of these crimes has been the subject of a judicial investigation, trial or conviction, RSF points out.
Even though the Independent Fact-Finding Mission called upon the Libyan authorities to ensure the protection of journalists in a report in October 2021, it has failed to address press freedom violations and has not conducted any investigations into the abuses against journalists since 2016.
“Journalists and media outlets operating in Libya continue to face a serious insecurity situation,” said Souhaieb Khayati, the director of RSF’s bureau in Tunis. “The Independent Fact-Finding Mission must conduct a thorough investigation into the many press freedom violations and must urge the authorities to end impunity for these violations.”
More than a decade after the Libyan revolution, the climate for journalists is still fraught with violence encouraged by total impunity – a situation exacerbated by draconian laws and an unstable political and security environment. Press freedom and the safety of journalists should be at the heart of the authorities’ concerns during the political transition following last December’s elections.
Tasked by the UN Human Rights Council with investigating human rights violations in Libya since the start of 2016 and consisting of three international experts – Mohamed Auajjar (Morocco), Tracy Robinson (Jamaica) and Chaloka Beyani (Zambia and UK) – the Independent Fact-Finding Mission is due to present its next report during the Council’s 50th session in June.
After falling a total of three places since 2019, Libya is ranked 165th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2021 World Press Freedom Index, the lowest position it has ever held.