Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Helping Hand for Libyan Radio Stations

IWPR's development fund for Libyan stations aims to enhance editorial skills and improve output.
By IWPR Libya
  • Trainees from Libya's Radio Zlitin train alongside Radio 6 engineers in Tunis. (Photo: IWPR)
    Trainees from Libya's Radio Zlitin train alongside Radio 6 engineers in Tunis. (Photo: IWPR)

The  Libyan Content Development Fund (LCDF), an IWPR initiative, awarded its newest grant to Radio Zawiya in November, bringing to seven the total number of projects implemented since March under this European Union-funded initiative.

The grant will be used to train 16 staff members of Radio Zawiya’s editorial team, resulting in higher-quality, more informative content. The station will develop new programming to increase audience awareness of key developments in Libya’s political transition.

Two other LCDF grantees, Radio Zlitin and Radio Jalu, both completed a series of intensive editorial trainings with IWPR partner media outlets in Tunis in October and November.

The LCDF, established in cooperation with Deutsch Welle Akademie, provides funds to Libyan media outlets through a competitive grants scheme for projects that develop editorial skills, programming and content, and for infrastructure improvements.

Two previous grantees used the funding to get safety and security training for editorial staff, while a third conducted election reporting training for journalists ahead of June’s parliamentary polls. A fourth grantee is producing a documentary on the role of minorities in the country’s transition, with filming scheduled to begin in December in multiple locations around Libya.

“With Libya’s media sector now under more threat that it has been at any point since the revolution, it is crucial to support local media outlets in their efforts to improve their skills and better inform the Libyan people with accurate and unbiased information,” said IWPR Libya country director Seth Meixner.

Radio Zlitin held four week-long training workshops for editorial staff under its LCDF grant. This was the first phase of a plan to raise the standard of its news operation and develop programming to better engage the audience and elected officials in a dialogue around key issues affecting Zlitin, 140 kilometres west of Tripoli.

In all,  32  journalists and editors from Radio Zlitin worked alongside Tunisian and British media professionals at host station Radio 6 in Tunis through November, building their editorial, technical, and managerial skills.

For most, the experience was the first formal training they had received in areas like news reporting, editing and radio engineering. It was also the first exposure they had to media outside their home country, underscoring the need for better protections for press and freedom of expression in Libya.

“In addition to professional skills, we journalists in Libya need more space for editorial freedom and financial independence, so we will be unaffected by [outside influence]”, said Mohammed al-Roubei, a senior Radio Zlitin journalist.

In November, Radio Jalu broadcast the first four of 12 programmes developed with LCDF support. The series, Jalu Mubashar, explores community concerns by linking members of the public with their political representatives. So far it has tackled questions of tribal extremism, poor management of regional natural resources, environmental pollution and illegal migration.

For each programme, elected and appointed officials from Jalu in Libya’s northeast discuss issues selected by audience members who can make contact via live phone-ins, SMS messaging and pre-recorded questions.

Prior to the first broadcast, two Radio Jalu staff members traveled to Tunis for nine days’ intensive training in editorial, production and technical skills with IWPR partner station Radio 6.

Radio Jalu previously partnered with IWPR to produce a series of four programmes for the Reporting the Transition project, designed to encourage increased public engagement in political dialogue. Reporting the Transition was supported by the US Department of State’s Middle East Partnership Initiative.

For further information, please contact IWPR Libya Country Director Seth Meixner (seth@iwpr.net).

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