Journalists in Libya killed and arbitrarily detained while covering the ongoing armed conflict


Libya continuous to be one of the most dangerous countries for journalists. Journalists continue to face physical attacks and arbitrary arrests, as international groups call on the Libyan authorities to immediately release and protect journalists. Libya ranks 162 at theWorld Press Freedom Index 2018 with 170 journalists imprisoned amid ongoing instability in the country that pose an additional risk to security of journalists while reporting.

Photojournalist killed while covering inter-militia clashes

On 19 January 2019, a prominent news photographer and video journalist Mohammed Bin Khalifa was killed while covering clashes between militia groups in the south of Tripoli. Ben Khalifa was accompanying a militia patrol in southern Tripoli as the group was targeted in a rocket attack and Bin Khalifa died as a result of shrapnel. He had worked for several national and international media organisations such as the Associated Press news agency.

Following the incident, the CSO Libyan Center for Freedom of Press reported that protests condemning violence against journalists were held in several cities -Tripoli , Benghazi , Sebha , Zuwara - calling for the protection and safety of journalists and media professionals.

The Committee to Protect Journalists’ (CPJ) Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour called on the Libya's Government of National Accord to “take immediate steps to hold those responsible to account and ensure the safety of the press covering the ongoing war." CPJsaid:

"Libya's Government of National Accord should take immediate steps to hold those responsible to account and ensure the safety of the press covering the ongoing war."

Local journalist arbitrarily detained

On 20th December 2018, Libyan internal security forces arbitrarily detained journalist Ismail Bouzreeba al-Zway. He was held in detention without charge for weeks and was barred from receiving visitors in prison, according to the CPJ's news alert published on 16th January 2019.

According to local media sources, the journalist was detained by the internal security forces of Operation Dignity on accusations of working for Al-Nabaa TV, a private media channel based in Turkey. The Al-Nabaa TV has been critical of the Libyan National Army, which control the Eastern region of the country and has been viewed in Libya as being associated with an Islamist group. Al-Nabaa TV denied that al-Zway is working for them. The Libyan Center for Press Freedom said that Bouzriba worked for the Cloud News Agency and demanded his immediate release.