Africa: RSF draws UN attention to press freedom violations 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 UN experts to investigate the situation of great concern to journalists and the media in this North African country.

The report provided on January 28 documents press freedom violations and numerous abuses against journalists in Libya since 2016. Based on information collected from local sources, RSF details threats and attacks against 12 journalists and 11 media in particular, including extrajudicial executions. , arbitrary arrests and acts of intimidation. None of these crimes has been the subject of a judicial investigation, a trial or a conviction, recalls RSF.

Although the Independent Investigative Mission called on the Libyan authorities to ensure the protection of journalists in an October 2021 report, it did not address press freedom violations and did not investigate the abuses against journalists since 2016.

“Journalists and media operating in Libya continue to face a serious situation of insecurity,” said Souhaieb Khayati, director of RSF’s office in Tunis. “The Independent Fact-Finding Mission must thoroughly investigate the numerous 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 marked by violence fostered by total impunity – a situation exacerbated by draconian laws and an unstable political and security environment. Press freedom and the safety of journalists must be at the heart of the authorities’ concerns during the political transition following the elections last December.

Tasked by the UN Human Rights Council to investigate human rights violations in Libya since the beginning of 2016 and composed 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 at the 50th session of the Council in June.

After falling three places overall 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.

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