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IFJ backs call for media reforms

(IFJ/IFEX) - 18 December 2009 - The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) welcomed today the strong call made by its affiliates in Libya, the Libyan Journalists and Media Workers' Association, for new legislation to guarantee freedom of information, enhance the status of journalists and increase transparency and open government.

The two-day seminar in Tripoli on 16 and 17 of December was opened by IFJ President Jim Boumelha, Vice-President Younes M'jahed and Omar Faruk, President of the IFJ regional group, the Federation of African Journalists, and was attended by scores of Libyan journalists, academics and media leaders.

"As a first visit ever of IFJ officials to Libya, we were buoyed by the strength and determination of Libyan journalists and their Association to surface from their isolation and play a full role in the work of the IFJ," said Jim Boumelha.

The two main themes of the seminar were freedom of information and ethics but journalists widened the debate to discuss basic issues they confront daily in their workplaces which are in many ways very similar to their colleagues everywhere.

"Libyan journalists, for the first time, are standing up for journalism, demanding big changes and for their social and professional rights to be recognised," said Younes M'jahed. "They must be supported."

The final recommendations agreed by the seminar called on the Libyan authorities to enact statutes guaranteeing their citizens' rights to government information, for the association to adopt a collective code of practice, and for the authorities to respect the protection of sources and value-based journalism and improve the working conditions of journalists.

Journalists called on their association to open the widest debate involving authorities, policy makers and the public at large on the future of journalism in the new technological age based on quality, diversity and pluralism.

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