Libyan Media in Transition
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Libya is still struggling to build political and governance mechanisms after the 2011 revolution in which Muammar Gaddafi was killed and his regime overthrown
Despite an election in July 2012 that successfully established a parliament, the process of political transition continues to face big challenges and uncertainties, as a body of largely inexperienced lawmakers attempt to forge a representative government, something that was impossible during Gaddafi’s 42-year rule.
The media sector was for decades merely an extension of Gaddafi’s personality cult, but since his demise, the vacuum has been filled by many new TV, radio and print outlets unfettered by state controls.
The rapid expansion of both private and semi-state media comes also the need to greater professional skills. Many of the journalists producing reportage were never trained, but rather picked up pens and cameras as the uprising against the Gaddafi regime found its voice in those early months of 2011.
This brave but often unfocused dedication to documenting the achievements of the revolution has resulted in a media sector of widely divergent skills levels and motivations.
IWPR established offices in Libya in May 2012 to work with emerging broadcast and print outlets, and also informal and social media, with the aim of increasing their capacity to produce high- quality local, regional and national content.
IWPR’s international trainers have been working closely with journalists and news organisations in the cities of Tripoli, Misrata and Benghazi. In addition, trainers provide hands-on mentoring to media outlets in other locations like Yefren in the Western Mountains, the southern city of Sabha, and smaller cities like Zliten in order to reach a broader cross-section of journalists and encourage reporting on issues that are largely ignored by the mainstream media.
In June 2012, IWPR began working with Libyan TV and radio stations to coach newsroom journalists and editors ahead of the historic July 7 election. The work focused on rapidly improving the content produced by newsrooms, through daily editorial meetings, story budgeting, hands-on reporting training and critiques of stories after broadcast.
IWPR is committed to forging strong partnerships with organisations and individuals in Libya.
- Training: IWPR trainers work in Libyan TV and radio newsrooms in both former state media and private outlets. This includes media that emerged during the revolution as little more than YouTube feeds or sporadic radio transmissions in cities like Misrata and Benghazi, but have since become important sources of information for their communities. IWPR is addressing both the basics of journalism and technical and editing skills.
- Publishing: As IWPR engages local media outlets it is developing a network of journalists in key locations around the country to promote a wider range of stories in the mainstream press. Media coverage is still mainly limited to major cities, leaving a large number of communities without a voice or access to information from other parts of the country.
Supporting the Media: IWPR is partnering with a variety of state and private media outlets, providing expertise to newsroom reporters and editors. IWPR is also engaging with media groups and associations, including the Free Media Centre, the Libyan Association for Free Media, both in Tripoli, and the National Media Union in Misrata.