Afrique Ameriques Asie Europe Internet Nations unies
Libya3 June 2009

Independent media brought under government control

Reporters Without Borders is worried by the government’s decision on 1 June to nationalise Libya’s few privately-owned news media, which until now were controlled by Al-Ghad, a company launched two years ago by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s son, Seif Al-Islam.

“This is clearly a retrograde measure,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The launch of several privately-owned media by Seif Al-Islam in 2007 had been seen as a positive development for press freedom in Libya. Unfortunately, the government has not played along and, two years later, it has decided to bring these media under its control. We urge the authorities to reverse this decision and to allow independent media to develop.”

A government decree said that Al-Ghad’s news media - the Allibiya satellite TV station and radio station, the newspapers Oea and Korina and the Al-Ghad printing press - would continue to operate but would henceforth be overseen by a new “National Centre for Media Services.”

Since their launch two years ago, these media had dared to criticise the government and tackle subjects that are taboo in Libya such as government opponents living abroad and Islamist groups.

Under “pressure”, Allibiya had to remove its London bureau at the beginning of last month while the station’s director was arrested on 28 April and spent 48 hours in police custody after broadcasting a programme by Egyptian journalist Hamdi Kandil that was very critical of the Egyptian government.

Libya was ranked 160th out of 173 countries in the latest Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.

  In this country
11 December - Libya-France
To chants of “Gaddafi, predator,” Reporters Without Borders protesters urge Sarkozy to be firmer on human rights
10 December - Libya-France
A predator of rights and freedoms visits Paris
2 March - Libya
On Libyan Arab Jamahiriya’s 30th anniversary, still no word of journalist arrested in 1973
7 March - Libya
Cyberdissident Abdel Razak al Mansuri released
7 December - Libya
International satellite broadcasts disrupted in order to jam London-based radio station

in the annual report
Libya - Annual report 2008
Libya - Annual Report 2007
Libya - Annual report 2006

15 February 2009 - Israel/Gaza
Operation “Cast lead” : news control as a military objective
11 February 2009 - Tunisia
“Tunisia, the courage to inform the public”: Reporters Without Borders meets journalists living under high-level surveillance
19 March 2008 - Iraq
Hundreds of journalists forced into exile in five years since start of US-led invasion of Iraq

Middle East archives
2009 archives
2008 archives
2007 archives
2006 archives
2005 archives
2004 archives
2003 archives
2002 archives
2001 archives
2000 archives

Middle East press releases
2 June - Lebanon
French investigation at standstill four years after journalist Samir Kassir’s murder
1 June - Iraq
A journalist killed and three others wounded in two bombings
29 May - Palestinian territories
More journalists arrested as a result of tension between Palestinian factions
28 May - Yemen
President urged to halt persecution of news media
28 May - Iraq
A step forward and a step back in prime minister’s lawsuits against news media