Sebha journalists demand the drafting of a law regulating the media sector in Libya

Sebha/October 11

A new discussion session was held in Sebha city within the National Initiative for the drafting of a “document respecting freedom of expression and the independence of media institutions”. Twenty-eight journalists, television correspondents, academics, lawyers, activists and media professionals took part in the Session. They discussed the need for media practices to be based on national legislations that promote independence and liberty

The participants agreed that it is necessary to draft a law to establish the High Media Council. It should be independent from the executive government. It should be responsible for managing and reorganizing the media sector and public media institutions. It should also reorganize radio and television broadcast, grant licenses to private media institutions and oblige them to disclose their funding sources, and make them respect the regulations and standards the National Media Foundation sets. The National Media Foundation is the highest independent authority. Its role is regulation. The members of its board of directors have the necessary expertise

The participants focused on the need to protect reputation and privacy.  It is necessary according to them, to set executive regulations to ensure that media institutions are not involved in spreading rumors and biased news that harm the reputation of others. In addition, the general sanction procedures related to publishing issues should be reformed. The participants agreed that respect should prevail between political actors. Freedom of expression is a sacred right that is a part of the national constants. However, it should not threaten civil peace, public health or public order. Government officials will be bound to disclose information through the ratification of the law on access to information by the coming legislative authority

The participants also highlighted the need to monitor and oversee press and digital content. It is necessary to focus on combating disinformation, hate speech, rumors and spreading of destructive ideas on social media. Internet should be regulated in order to enhance its position as a free digital space

The participants find it imperative to develop educational curricula for Libyan media colleges, to develop media laboratories and to enhance their technical capacities. They also called on the candidates to the upcoming national elections to pledge to work with civil society and journalists on draft laws related to press and publishing. They also have to work on the law of the National Media Foundation, which is being prepared by experts in the field of media and law in the National Committee for reviewing media draft laws administered by the Libyan Organization for Independent Media

The participants emphasized the need for legal and institutional support that goes in line with the challenges facing the Libyan state.  It is necessary to respect freedom of expression and independence of media, establishing a national project and unifying media discourse under the umbrella of professionalism, objectivity, quality and efficiency. It is also necessary to have legal texts that explicitly provide for the protection of media professionals

At the end, the participants stressed the need to respect the cultures and characteristics of the Libyan society components. They all have the right to broadcast in their own language and to convey their voice to the Libyans

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October 14, 2021