By Libya Herald reporter.
Tunis, 17 November 2015:
Journalists and human rights activists from Libya attending a UNESCO workshop in Tunis organised to . . .[restrict]mark the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists
earlier this month, have called on the organisation and other international bodies to help ensure that those involved in crimes against journalists and others working in the media are brought to account.
Yesterday’s workshop, organised by the UNESCO Tripoli Office and the Regional Bureau of Reporters Sans Frontières, took place against the background of growing concern about the safety of journalists in Libya. There have been a series of arrests and disappearances. Moutaz Khraif who was seized last week just behind the Surpeme Court, was finally freed after protests in the city. In August, Reda Fahail Al-Boum was freed only when UNSMIL intervened after he had been seized at Mitiga airport.
There is still no news of photographer Mohamed Al-Naili who disappeared at the end of last month or of the two Tunisian journalists kidnapped in eastern Libya in September last year or the five-member Cyrenaica TV crew seized the previous month.
Many Libyan journalists have been forced to leave the country for their safety.
At the workshop, participants pointed out that those still in Libya were being silenced at the very time the provision of accurate and impartial information was badly needed. Those responsible for this were able to get away with it because there was no protection from the law; those threatening journalists and activists knew they could act with impunity.
“We all are aware that collecting and transmitting information is very important in times of crises. If allowed to work professionally, journalists can make a vital contribution to enhance the peace and reconciliation process in Libya”, said Austria’s ambassador to Libya, Ronald Sturm. “However, we are increasingly faced with a culture of impunity that endangers professional journalism.”
Malik Stitah, a journalist from Derna, said that UNESCO and other international partners had to “do their utmost to ensure the impunity issue in Libya remains in the spotlight as an urgent issue to be addressed by all responsible parties”.
UNESCO Representative to Libya Michael Croft agreed. Impunity was becoming ingrained in Libya, he said, insisting that Libya’s international partners had to react and make clear to the powers there that this was unacceptable. [/restrict]