In the last year, the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) has documented 18 cases of serious human rights abuses against dozens of journalists and media workers. In three cases, nine journalists have disappeared and their fate remains unknown. In nine other cases, armed groups abducted journalists and media workers who faced a range of abuses, including torture, while held in arbitrary detention. In other cases, journalists faced death threats, physical attacks, raids and armed attacks on their offices and other forms of intimidation, and media outlets faced armed attack.
The United Nations, led by UNESCO, supports safety for journalists through the global UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity. In Libya, UNESCO works with Libyan media outlets and professionals to incorporate basic professional and ethical standards into their work and establish transitional frameworks, such as the 2015 Madrid Declaration, as points of consensus in this critical sector.
“Libyan media professionals are taking the lead on media reform”, stated Ghaith Fariz, UNESCO Representative to Libya, adding, “The incorporation of basic professional standards, combined with a conflict-sensitive approach, will assist them to manage the risks they face, in addition to fostering better media practice.”