Libya: Journalist and media executive unlawfully arrested

Mohammed Baayou, the head of Libya’s state-owned Media Corporation, was arrested on 20 October in Tripoli. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins the United Nations (UN) in condemning this unlawful arrest and urging for his immediate release.

Libya's capital Tripoli. Credits: MAHMUD TURKIA / AFP

According to the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), Baayou was arrested together with his two sons and journalist Hind Ammar, who recently got appointed as head of programs at the Libya al-Wataniya TV channel. His sons were released shortly after the arrest and Ammar two days after, while Baayou remains under arrest.

Pictures posted on social media allegedly show  Bayouu inside the headquarters of the Tripoli Revolutionary Brigade, a powerful armed group, according to AFP reports. The Tripoli Revolutionary Brigade is allied with the UN-recognised Government of National Accord, which has not commented on the arrest.

Since he was appointed as director of the state-owned broadcaster, Baayou had introduced guidelines and policies aiming at reducing hateful content and the promotion of violence in the media’s broadcastings. 

In a statement issued on 22 October, the UN condemned the arrest as “unlawful” and called for the respect of freedom of expression and rule of law. “This latest round of arbitrary arrests highlights the personal risks journalists take to promote the right to freedom of expression in Libya,” the UN statement reads.

IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: “Freedom of the press and of expression are crucial to ensure a successful democratic transition in Libya. The unlawful arrest of Mohammed Baayou shows once again that more work must be done in Libya to secure the protection of journalists and media workers. We call for an immediate and unconditional release of Baayou.”

For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 16

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