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Libyan journalists: torture, displacement and raping

The Arabic newspaper, Al-Araby Al-Jadid, published a report, and LIBYAPROSPECT is translating here, tackling journalists’ statues inside Libya after the 17th February revolution. It said that after the revolution, a lot of TV stations, radio and newspapers were launched in Libya, so freedom space increased after decades of sole speech. Each media outlet focused on its own speech, as per the affiliate entity or party, and spoke widely about corruption, “red line policies” no longer exist among most media organizations.

The report added that after 2012 elections and the sweep wining of the liberal current in front of the Islamist, media became a threat to those who lost in the elections. Due to the wide proliferation of weapons inside Libya, media outlets feared being targeted for saying or publishing any different opinion of those who control armed militias. Abductions and threats increased, some media professionals were assassinated, in August 2013, the media practitioner, Ezzedine Qusad, and then the journalist Muftah Buzaid in May 2014.

From here, the report, translated by LIBYAPROSPECT, said, fear index among journalists increased, and forced them to leave the country and perform from outside Libya. Hence, any media practitioner became a target for militias that regard media as a weapon against them. The situation exceeded threats and reached sexual assaults, of which most victims are not willing to speak fearing being targeted.

Exact number of journalists inside prisons is unknown till now, specially that militias prisons are not under state authority, but under control of emirs of armed groups. While 2014, four cases of murder for journalists are reported after Libya Dawn controlled Tripoli, according to Al-Araby Al-Jadid.

Speaking about field work for any journalist or reporter inside war areas, especially in Sirte, is outspoken suicide for any media practitioner attempting to go there. The city, under control of the Islamic State (IS), considers any opponent as apostate infidel, journalists are no exception. The group executed, last year, two persons for reporting the group’s behaviors via social media sites. Some other cities considered dangerous for journalistic work.

The report mentioned that one journalist, escaped to Germany, in 2014, after being detained by one militia for writing on his Facebook page condemning acts of armed groups against journalists.

Al-Araby Al-Jadid quoted him saying “three persons came to my house in Tripoli riding state owned cars. Saying they want me for investigations, when I asked about their identities, they assaulted me and forced me into the car”. He added “one of them put black cloth over my face, I didn’t know where I was, I was verbally assaulted and beaten. They asked me which party do I belong to”.

The journalist, who asked to remain anonymous, continued “I was subjected to psychological torture, they put a gun opposite to my face, threatened to kill me if I didn’t confess. I was beaten by electric wire. They told me that next time, I will face real torture”.

Another journalist called himself Ahmed, not his real name, said to Al-Araby Al-Jadid “I was abducted for working for one TV station that is affiliated to a specific political current, by an opponent armed group. I was working as field reporter, my reports might have provoked that militia, I was detained in the street by armed men who dragged me out of my car, and took me to their headquarter, where I was subjected to psychological and physical torture”.

He added “every time, one of the armed men call me and play one of my reports, make me watch them, asking what I mean by saying that word or phrase, then they all beat me”.

“Very hard times, each time I was told that I will be killed and thrown to the street, they told me they are above law and media. Now I am outside Libya, only editing news for electronic website”.

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