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

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

Libya: Rights groups present a new draft law regulating civil work and call on Libyan civil society to advocate for its approval by the legislature

Libya: Rights groups present a new draft law regulating civil work and call on Libyan civil society to advocate for its approval by the legislature

Press release The undersigned human rights groups announce the proposal of a new draft law regulating civil work in Libya; the proposed law would guarantee civil society’s independence and freedom. We call on Libya’s civil society organizations to review and adopt this proposal, and pressure for its swift approval. We welcome any comments, suggestions, or feedback to improve the draft law, and affirm the law’s commitment to international standards for freedom of association and peaceful assembly

The undersigned groups are prepared for a public debate on the draft law through urgent hearings in which civil society organizations participate and  review the proposed law and its explanatory memorandum This represents a push for the immediate issuance of a law on associations that complies with international standards for freedom of association.  The law would also represent a departure from the authoritarian practices under which civil society in Libya has been suppressed, despite the passage of over a decade since the revolution of the Libyan people for freedom and democracy

The proposed draft law guarantees the independence of civil society organizations from the state and its administrative bodies Currently, associations in Libya are struggling to unshackle themselves from the repression of the country’s governing authorities. This repression includes concerted efforts to nationalize civil society and deprive it of independence and freedom to work. Moreover, the draft law emphasizes the importance of the operational transparency of these organizations and their practices, including their activities and funding sources. The proposed law also requires the registration of associations and non-governmental organizations by notification only, and guarantees the freedom to work and form or join local and international networks and alliances

The draft law is a culmination of Libyan civil society’s persistent efforts, ongoing since 2011, to push Libyan state institutions and successive governments to abandon Gaddafi’s authoritarian legal arsenal, especially the Civil Associations Law no. 19 of 2001, which is reflective of the perspective and policies of a dictatorship lacking in any consideration for freedoms and human rights

Libyan civil society participated in the 2013 consultations with the Ministry of Culture and Civil Society to prepare a new draft law to regulate associations, yet the proposal arising from these consultations remains unknown, and has not yet been issued. In 2016, human rights organizations participated in the revision of the draft law on associations, which was proposed by the legislative authority at the time, and despite the submission of the revised version to the House of Representatives in 2017, which was entirely disregarded

Nevertheless, the new proposed law on civil society differs from its predecessors in that it is subjected to scrutiny and examination by many legal experts, judges, and human rights defenders. The proposed law is the result of a meticulous study of experiences and legislation in the region and internationally, in regards to the regulation of civil society’s work. Thus the proposed law benefits from similar legislative proposals submitted by human rights organizations to ensure the independence and freedom of civil society in their countries

 

16 organizations and 4 public figures submitted this proposed new draft law and are looking forward to presenting it before members of the House of Representatives and representatives of the legislative authority in Libya, with the aim of pushing for the issuance of a new law on associations. Under the proposed law, the tribulations of civil society in Libya would come to an end, ensuring Libyan associations’ ability to perform their role in monitoring and following up on public affairs within a just legal framework that guarantees the independence and freedom of civil society

Accordingly, the signatory organizations renew their call for all Libyan organizations to  review the proposed draft law and send their feedback on it, in order to partake in creating legislation that is based upon genuine consensus and guarantees the independence and freedom of civil society in Libya

 

Signatory organizations

  1. Defender Center for Human Rights (DCHR)
  2. The Libyan Organization for Independent Media
  3. Belady Center
  4. The Independent Organization for Human Rights in Libya
  5. Libya al-Moustakbal Center
  6. Jurists Without Chains
  7. The Libyan Women’s Platform for Peace
  8. Adala For All
  9. The Libyan Judges Organization
  10. The Libyan Center For Freedom Of Press‎
  11. Youth Organization for Tawergha
  12. Libyan Network for Legal Aid 
  13. Al-Zawiya Center for Human Rights
  14. Aman Organization Against Discrimination
  15. Libyan Crimes Watch
  16. The Libyan Group to Monitor Human Rights Violations

 

Public figures

  • Azza Maghur 
  • Salah Marghani
  • Marwan Tashani
  • Wael bin Ismail
Journalists recommend enforcing media law in accordance with Article 174 of the Libyan constitution

Journalists recommend enforcing media law in accordance with Article 174 of the Libyan constitution

Tripoli, September 25

The Libyan Center for Freedom of Press resumes the national initiative of the preparation and drafting of the “Document for the Respect of the Freedom of Expression and the Independence of Media Institutions. In this initiative, a group of journalists and jurists participated in a wide series of discussion sessions and focus groups, which aim at sharing opinions and searching for common ground among all actors in press and media sector

The discussion in the working sessions focused on examining the multiple attempts over the past years to regulate the Libyan media sector, the impact of the political division and armed conflict on public media, and the search for a vision to restructure the media sector in accordance with the governance principles and international standards

The participants focused on the necessity of defining the structural organization of the media sector and including it within the structure of the state. It would ensure its independence from the government. This should be through the activation of the law on establishing the Higher Council for Media, as stipulated in the Constitutional Article No. 174 within the chapter Independent Bodies in the draft Libyan constitution, which explicitly provides for the independence of media

The participants discussed the legal framework necessary for the structural organization, the need to protect reputation and privacy, and the importance of adopting a structural organization. Regulating the Sector is possible through the issuance of a new law for the press and publication that defines the tasks and duties of the National Union of Journalists, and the enforcement of the law on the right to access information

More than 150 Libyan journalists and jurists will participate in the discussion sessions in 5 Libyan cities during the last quarter of this year. The goal is to prepare the provisions of the document for “the Respect of the Freedom of Expression and the Independence of Media Institutions. We will later collect signatures from parties, political entities and candidates to the upcoming national Presidential and Parliamentary elections. The purpose is to get pledges from them to work with civil society and journalists in the future and pass new laws regulating media and ending the state of chaos in media in a way that achieves independence and freedom of the press and guarantees the economic and social rights of journalists

It is noteworthy that the Libyan Center for Freedom of Press had started holding discussion sessions in the last quarter of 2018, but they stopped in 2019 because of the violent war launched by General Khalifa Haftar’s forces to control Tripoli, which failed, just before the planned date of holding the National Conference in Ghadames at that time

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