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Three journalists abducted in Libya; assailants unidentified yet

Journalists and media professionals in Libya are working in an increasingly dangerous environment given the state's recurrent inability to hold perpetrators of crimes against the press accountable and its unwillingness to provide necessary on-the-job protection for journalists, said the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI).

Libya has recently witnessed a string of attacks by unidentified groups against media professionals, latest of which has been the kidnapping of three reporters working for Fezzan TV. Adel Al-Sharif, Abdullah Buazbeh, and Zidan Mehdi were abducted whilst covering clashes at an air base near the city of Sabha on 18 January 2014.

Up till now, the fate of the kidnapped journalists remains unknown, and those who committed the heinous crime have not been identified yet.

"Those who work in the field of media and journalism are subjected to numerous attacks by armed militias and unknown bodies carrying weapons in the streets of Libya," said ANHRI. "Such militias appeared in Libya after the overthrow of dictator Muammar Gaddafi as the new state could not so far recapture weapons used by the rebels when facing Gaddafi's armed militias. This resulted in a surge of violence for which Libyan citizens, journalists and media professionals have paid the price."

ANHRI added: "Violations and physical attacks committed by unidentified gunmen against journalists, media professionals and opinion makers in Libya, have included assassinations, beatings, and the raiding of media institutions' headquarters. No one, however, has been held accountable or brought to trial for these violations."

ANHRI holds Libyan authorities responsible for ensuring journalists' safety and calls on them to exert greater effort in order to find the kidnapped journalists, identify their abductors and bringing them to trial, otherwise the culture of impunity will lead to more violations and greater violence.

What other IFEX members are saying
  • Journalists constantly prey to grave threats and violence in Libya

    Reporters Without Borders reiterates its deep concern and urges the transitional government to end the reign of the militias. The authorities must establish a reliable and transparent system of judicial responsibility in order to break the cycle of impunity prevailing in Libya and to guarantee the safety of journalists.

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