Tripoli, 12 August 2013:
The Libyan authorities should urgently put into place legislative and judicial measures to protect the rights of journalists and guarantee freedom of press, said Reporters Without Borders (RWB).
The international freedom of press NGO has said it is deeply concerned by the: “Increasingly dangerous and unstable environment in which those in the media are forced to work, and the threats and other abuses they face.”
RWB stressed that if a free, independent and transparent media could not work in a secure climate, this threatened the proper functioning of a democratic society.
In a statement released after the killing of TV presenter, Izzaldin Qasaad, it condemned the killing and pointed out that Qasaad was the first Libyan journalist to have been murdered since the fall of the old regime.
“This heinous crime marks a serious and regrettable turning point in Libya’s difficult transition to democracy,” RWB said, adding that it: “Illustrates the blatant lack of security in the country, which the transitional government must rectify.”
Another journalist, Osama Audairi, was shot in the hand outside a bank in Ajdabiya on Saturday.
RWB said that Qasaad had apparently received a death threat just days before he was killed. The threat reportedly said he would be killed if he delivered a speech celebrating Eid al-Fitr, the festival marking the end of Ramadan. He gave the speech and was shot dead after leaving the mosque.
Although Qasaad had a number of professions, RWB said it believed his role as a journalist led to his murder. It called upon the Libyan authorities to undertake an investigation as quickly as possible.
It also said the Libyan authorities: “Must comply with their national and international obligations regarding freedom of expression and information.”
The NGO said the government should “quickly enact legislative and judicial measures allowing the establishment of a media system that guarantees these basic freedoms and protects the rights of journalists, as well as preventing impunity from prevailing in the new Libya.” [/restrict]