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The Libyan government must act against attacks on journalists and the media

Ahmed Maiteeq, deputy head of Libya's Government of National Accord (GNA), speaks during a press conference in the capital Tripoli, 26 June 2018
Ahmed Maiteeq, deputy head of Libya's Government of National Accord (GNA), speaks during a press conference in the capital Tripoli, 26 June 2018

MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP/Getty Images

This statement was originally published on ifj.org on 10 January 2019.

Over 140 journalists from 20 different media outlets handed a letter to the Government of National Accord (GNA) urging them to stop the attacks on media freedom and ensure a safe working environment for journalists in the country.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) shows its support to all Libyan journalist who have been suffering for years from intimidation and violent attacks and demands that the GNA- the internationally recognized Libyan government- duly investigate all the aggressions on journalists and hold those responsible accountable.

The letter signed by the journalists denounced several incidents committed by different parties, and according to the letter, most of these attacks were carried out by personnel and agencies under GNA control.

Among the incidents, journalists accuse the authorities of leading false prosecutions and fabricated espionage charges as well as conducting numerous arbitrary arrests. The letter reports physical assaults, the inspection of mobile phones and personal equipment without legal ground, gender, tribal, regional, ethnic and racial discrimination and illegal investigations of journalists. Journalists also denounced the authorities for failing to recognise press cards.

The letter reported the obstruction of media procedures by the Department of External Information (e.g. not giving out press cards to Libyan journalists working for foreign media or not issuing visas for foreign journalists to report in the country) as well as applying pressure to influence media reporting.

Lastly the letter warns that they will stop covering all information and events related to GNA government until the authorities "change their attitude towards us".

IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said: "The IFJ fully supports the journalists and their unity to defend themselves and their right to work in a safe and secure environment. The GNA and all authorities in Libya are responsible for the lives and welfare of the journalists working in areas under their control, and it is unacceptable that they are letting these attacks go unpunished".

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