Muammar Gaddafi, Head of State and Guide of the Revolution, Libya

Before the 2011 uprising in eastern Libya, nearly all the country's media outlets were state-controlled or tied to Muammar Gaddafi. Small signs of opening-up appeared in 2007 and 2008, when privately-owned media outlets were allowed (controlled by Al-Ghad, a company owned by Gaddafi's son Seif al-Islam) and three foreign news agencies were permitted to open offices in Tripoli. But in 2010, Al-Ghad was nationalised and opposition websites began to be censored.

Since the uprising in February 2011, attacks on journalists by the government and Gaddafi loyalists have increased. The "Guide of the Revolution" has expressed his hatred of foreign media ("stray dogs") and accused them of causing chaos. His regime said it would treat journalists who entered the country illegally as Al-Qaeda agents and warned they could be arrested at any time. Gaddafi loyalists arrested more than 20 foreign journalists entering the country from Tunisia and Egypt, legally or not, and at least six Libyan journalists are thought to have been arrested since the uprising started. Besides, four journalists have been killed.

Foreign journalists invited to Libya by Gaddafi have not been allowed to work freely, have been forced to go where the regime says, and been routinely threatened and insulted. Gaddafi decides which of them can stay in Tripoli and in early April ordered 26 media to leave the country.


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