The Committee to Protect Journalists said Thursday it was gravely concerned about the safety of Mohamed Al-Qarij and Mohamed Al-Shibani, Libyan journalists working for Libya Alahrar TV Channel, who disappeared on May 02 covering fighting in southern Tripoli.
Libya Alahrar lost contact with Al-Qarij, a reporter, and Al-Shibani, a photographer, while the journalists were covering clashes in Tripoli, according to a statement by the channel and news reports.
According to those reports, the journalists’ whereabouts are still unknown.
“Libya Alahrar did not respond to an email and Facebook message from CPJ. CPJ’s emailed request for comment to the Libyan National Army and message to the brigade’s Facebook page which is allegedly behind the abduction, went unanswered.” CPJ explained.
It added that intensified fighting in Libya can only make a very dangerous environment for journalists worse.
“We call on all sides to take every step to protect journalists and respect their status as civilians,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour, adding: “Whoever is holding Mohamed al-Qurj and Mohamed al-Shibani–be it the Libyan National Army, its affiliates, or any other group–should release them immediately.”
The Libyan Foreign Ministry of the Government of National Accord, the country’s internationally recognized government, released on May 03 a statement accusing Haftar’s forces of detaining the journalists, deeming it “contradictory to all international laws and accords that protect journalists during turmoil and wars.”
Since the journalists’ disappearance, protests demanding their release were held in Tripoli, but the broadcaster says there isn’t any new information about their whereabouts yet.