Reporters Without Borders is very worried by the signs of a decline in respect for freedom of information – including visa problems, filming bans, arbitrary arrest and deportation – since the election of the General National Congress on 7 July.
Several foreign journalists have told Reporters Without Borders they have had difficulties getting visas to visit Libya, especially after the 11 September attack on the US consulate in Benghazi.
Those who managed to go have had problems with the militias, especially when trying to take photos or film the peaceful protests against US ambassador Chris Stevens’ death.
The Supreme Security Committee (SSC) has also arrested journalists arbitrarily.
Its victims include the British filmmaker and journalist Sharron Ward and her Libyan interpreter, who were detained while filming at a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) at Janzour, 12 km west of Tripoli, on 19 July and were held for nearly eight hours. Ward was then detained again for three days, from 21 to 23 July, before being deported.
"Foreign and national journalists must be able to work freely in post-Gaddafi Libya," Reporters Without Borders said. "Abuse of power should be a thing of the past. It is true the country is in full transition but the Supreme Security Committee’s high-handed behaviour is disturbing. We call on the new government, above all the interior ministry, to investigate these incidents and to return the equipment that was arbitrarily confiscated from these journalists."