HRW: journalists under attack in Libya

HRW: journalists under attack in Libya

[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] on Monday released [press release] a report [text, PDF] detailing the violent attacks on Libyan journalists by various armed groups over the past two years. The 54-page report, entitled “War on the Media: Journalists Under Attack in Libya,” explains how the attacks, kidnappings or threats have caused journalists to either flee the country or censor themselves for fear of retribution. Additionally, HRW reported that authorities have been prosecuting journalists for defamatory reports, while failing to hold anyone accountable for acts of violence against journalists. The report documents 91 incidences of intimidation and assault to journalists, noting that the government did not seriously investigate any of them. HRW deputy Middle East and North Africa director, Joe Stork, pushed for reform in Libya, stating “Government authorities and non-state actors who control territory should urgently condemn attacks on journalists and where possible hold those responsible to account.”

Libya remains politically unstable three years after the 2011 uprising [JURIST backgrounder] and subsequent civil war that deposed former dictator Gaddafi. In August the UN said that recent violence between Libyan political factions had been alarming and unprecedented in its gravity [JURIST report]. In a May briefing to the UN Security Council, International Criminal Court [official website] Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda [official profile] said that Libya faces a deep political crisis and serious security challenges [JURIST report], inhibiting its ability to rebuild itself as a modern democratic state.