The Worst of the Worst 2010 - Libya (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya)
|Publication Date||3 June 2010|
|Cite as||Freedom House, The Worst of the Worst 2010 - Libya (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya), 3 June 2010, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4c0e0afe1a.html [accessed 11 December 2013]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
Political Rights: 7
Civil Liberties: 7
Status: Not Free
|Ten-Year Ratings Timeline for Year under Review|
(Political Rights, Civil Liberties, Status)
|Year Under Review||2000||2001||2002||2003||2004||2005||2006||2007||2008||2009|
2009 Key Developments: The Libyan government nationalized the country's only quasi-independent media group in 2009, although online censorship and the hacking of dissident websites appeared to decline somewhat. Also during 2009, a prominent dissident died after years of illness in custody, and the authorities sentenced two Swiss businessmen to jail terms on immigration charges, apparently as part of a diplomatic row with Switzerland.
Political Rights: Libya is not an electoral democracy. Power theoretically lies with a system of people's committees and the indirectly elected General People's Congress, but in practice those structures are manipulated to ensure the continued dominance of Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, who holds no official title. It is illegal for any political group to oppose the principles of the 1969 revolution, which are laid out in al- Qadhafi's Green Book, although market-based economic changes in recent years have diverged from the regime's socialist ideals. Political parties have been illegal for over 35 years, and the government strictly monitors political activity. Organizing or joining anything akin to a political party is punishable by long prison terms and even the death penalty. Many Libyan opposition movements and figures operate outside the country. Corruption is pervasive in both the private sector and the government in Libya.
Civil Liberties: There is no independent press. The regime hardened its monopoly on media outlets in mid-2009 with the nationalization of Al-Ghad media group, which was established in 2007 by al- Qadhafi's son, Saif al-Islam, and encompassed the country's only quasi-independent newspapers and radio stations. State-owned media largely operate as mouthpieces for the authorities, and journalists work in a climate of fear and self-censorship. Those who displease the regime face harassment or imprisonment on trumped-up charges. The government controls the country's only internet service provider. The OpenNet Initiative found that dissident websites were censored and hacked sporadically in 2009, although less often than in previous years. The government closely monitors mosques for Islamist activity. The few non-Muslims in Libya are permitted to practice their faiths with relative freedom. Academic freedom is tightly restricted. The government also restricts freedom of assembly. Those demonstrations that are allowed to take place are typically meant to support the aims of the regime. The law allows for the establishment of nongovernmental organizations, but those that have been granted authorization to operate are directly or indirectly linked to the government. There are no independent labor unions. The People's Court, infamous for punishing political dissidents, was abolished in 2005, but the judicial authority has since created the State Security Court, which carries out a similar function. The judiciary as a whole remains subservient to the political leadership and regularly penalizes political dissent. Women enjoy many of the same legal protections as men, but certain laws and social norms perpetuate discrimination, particularly in areas such as marriage, divorce, and inheritance.