IFJ condemns threats by Libyan official authorities against the journalism community

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has today condemned the threats by the Director of Media and Culture Commission in the Libyan Transition Government, Omar Quary, against the Libyan Cloud News Agency (LCNA), the country's self-proclaimed first independent newswire service. The official state’s news agency published on 21 November a message from Quary describing LCNA’s journalists as “stupid spies who are supported by the foreign governments” and calling on the Army to catch them.

LCNA agency went live online on 29 November following a launch event in Brussels, which was attended by the IFJ representatives. The project, led by Germany's international broadcaster Deutsche Welle and supported by the European Commission, was set up to give Libyans and international media organisation access to unbiased news about the country following the confusion in Libyan media landscape and the political instability in the country.

On 21 November, a couple of days after the agency’s launch, Omar Quary, whose position is equivalent to a Minister of Information in the Libyan government recognized by the international community, said in the official state’s news agency that the Army “must take all the necessary actions to catch” LCNA’s journalists, after describing them as “stupid spies.”

In a statement last Saturday, LCNA editor-in-chief Tareq Alhouny condemned Omar Quary’s statement, calling it ‘an aggression’ and saying that the LCNA was committed to providing balance news based on impartiality, professional standards and ethics.

The IFJ, which has strongly supported the international efforts to reduce hate speech in the Libyan media landscape, has strongly condemned the threats coming from the Libyan Transition Government.

“This is one of the worst cases of incitement to violence against media in five years of political strife in Libya,” said IFJ President, Jim Boumelha. “This is the height of irresponsibility in the light of dangerous working conditions of Libyan journalists. We demand the government of Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni to publicly condemn this statement and take action against the senior official who made it. We hold him and his government responsible for the safety and the wellbeing of the journalists working for LCNA and journalism community in the country.”

The IFJ welcomed UNESCO’s four-day roundtable last month in Madrid to enhance professional and ethical standards in Libyan media management among national editors and media owners.

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

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 139 countries

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