Multiple Kidnappings of Media Workers
|Publisher||Reporters Without Borders|
|Publication Date||30 April 2013|
|Other Languages / Attachments||Arabic|
|Cite as||Reporters Without Borders, Multiple Kidnappings of Media Workers, 30 April 2013, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/5180cdc84.html [accessed 22 October 2017]|
|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.|
Reporters Without Borders expressed grave concern about recent violent attacks on Libyan journalists, whose safety conditions are deteriorating drastically.
The free press organization demanded that the Libyan transitional government do everything in its power to guarantee the security of local and foreign media workers.
On 28 April, armed militiamen kidnapped Mahmoud Al-Farjani, correspondent for Al-Arabiya, seizing him in the Saudi-owned network's office, which lies across the street from the Foreign Ministry. He was covering a militia demonstration in favour of highly controversial legislation to ban from politics former senior officials who served deposed dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
Al-Farjani was held for seven hours. His kidnappers beat him repeatedly and threatened to kill him. Before the kidnapping, the journalist had already received numerous threats arising from his work.
At the same time, an Iraqi journalist and a Turkish technician for the IHA Turkish network were taken by another armed group, apparently one not linked to the militia involved in the Al-Farjani kidnapping. The two were released after several hours and were not mistreated.
That same day, armed militia members occupied the headquarters of the national television network, Al-Wataniya, for several hours.
On 22 April, Yousef Bargoum, a former journalist who directs public information for the civil registry in Benghazi, was kidnapped by armed militia after a radio broadcast on Al-Manar in which he disclosed obvious irregularities in municipal documents. Bargoum was held for three days. He was badly beaten and tortured with electrical shocks during the ordeal. He recounted the experience in an interview with journalist Mabrouka al-Masmari.
Bargoum was released on 25 April and immediately hospitalized. But he quickly left the hospital, fearing his life was in danger in an insecure setting.
Reporters Without Borders reiterated the important role that media workers play in a democratic society, emphasizing that freedom of information is critical to the establishment of a new, democratic, transparent and pluralist Libya.
The organization cited the UN Human Rights Committee, which noted in its "General comment No. 34" in 2011: "Freedom of opinion and freedom of expression are indispensable conditions for the full development of the person. They are essential for any society. The two freedoms are closely related, with freedom of expression providing the vehicle for the exchange and development of opinions."