الجمعة، 5 سبتمبر، 2014

"HESN" Condemns All Repressive Practices Against Freedom of Opinion and Expression in Libya



"HESN" Condemns All Repressive Practices
Against Freedom of Opinion and Expression in Libya

A special report dealing with the violations that took place in July and August 2014 against media personnel and institutions (including journalists) in Tripoli and its environs

Militias and armed groups in Libya continue to violate the freedom of the press, threatening journalists, media practitioners and bloggers by kidnapping and assaulting them morally and physically, and even murdering them


"HESN" Center for defending the freedom of journalists (which is based in Tripoli), strongly condemns the incidents of intimidation of journalists and bloggers through repeated threats and kidnappings, which affected a number of them, and expresses its complete rejection of the incitement campaigns which sanction and encourage  the use of violence, regardless of who exercised the incitement.


The following are some of the illegal and reprehensible practices that have been monitored since the beginning of the current events in Tripoli in July 2014(*):

Date: July 13th 2014
Source: a phone call from news correspondent “ Safwan Abu Sahmain”
Someone called “ Ahmed Al Zintani” sent a death threat via a text message to “ Mr. Safwan Abu Sahmain” because of a contribution he made on to “Al Naba” news channel.

Date: July 25th 2014
Source: multiple sources, media reports and news agencies
Kidnapping of the activist and blogger Abdu Almoaz Banoun based on his blogs and Facebook updates in which he criticized “ Fajir Libya” operation. He was also accused of being involved in an attempted "coup against the revolution,” and that he is a Gaddaffi loyalist.

Date” July 27th 2014
Source: well informed sources
Circulation of a “black list” on the social network sites, adopted by a group called (the electronic army), where many names of activists, journalists and bloggers who oppose the war in Tripoli where listed.

Date: July 27th 2014
Source: The blogger Ramez Al Nuesri
A thretening letter was delivered to the blogger and writer Ramez Al Nuseri because of his blogs against the raging war in Tripoli and its suburbs.

Date: August 1st, 2014
Source: AL Assema channel and various news agencies
The kidnapping of Al Assema channel crew from Martyr’s Square during their coverage of a demonstration against the war in Tripoli and Benghazi, camera man Ahmed Al Elwani and reporter Mohamed Habibi. Were released on August 6, 2014 after being subjected to ill treatment, beatings and torture.

Date: August 1st, 2014
Source: Journalist and reporter Suliman Albaruni
Suliman Albaruni and his family receive kidnapping and death threat s based on his profession as a news anchor at Al Assema TV Channel.
Armed group of people intercept Suliman’s car as he was leaving his work and threaten him either to support the ongoing military campaign in Tripoli and resign immediately from Al Assema, or he will be killed. Before they disappear, they shot his car tires puncturing them leaving him stranded in the middle of the road.
Jadu city, where Suliman comes from, accuse him of treason because he refused to support one of the warring factions in Tripoli.

Date: August 1st, 2014
Source:  the broadcaster of Al Assema TV Channel Moed Almoqataf
The survival of the broadcaster Moayed Khalifa Almoqatef after a failed assassination attempt. A hail of bullets were fired at him by unknown assailants in Abu Salim area in Tripoli.

Date: August 3rd, 2014
Source: Libya International Channel
Kidnapping attempt of the international channel broadcaster Mohamed Al Taiari while returning to his home in Janzour area because of his work at the channel.

Date: August 17th, 2014
Source:  Informed and trusted sources
The discovery of various audio and video recordings containing violent threats by various parties against journalists and media institutions.

Date: August 18th, 2014
Source: News reports and staff of Al Wataniya Channel
o   Special Shield forces in Tripoli breaks in Al Wataniya Channel and prevents the executive director Mr. Tarek Al Houni and his deputy Mr. Yusef Shaltot from entering the channel.
o   Threats issued to a number of journalists and staff of Al Wataniya Channel to comply with the orders issued by the new administration.

o   Date: August 18th, 2014
o   Source:  Eyewitness
Kidnapping of the television director Ousama Rashed (works at both TV channels “Libya Sports” and “Libya International”) by an armed group on his way to his home in Janzour area and the confiscation all of his equipment.  He was released a few days later during which he was mistreated, beaten and tortured.

Date: August 24th, 2014
Source: News Agencies
Breaking in Al Assema Channel in Gurgi area, looting and burning its contents, and kidnapping the night shift staff (Libyan technicians, engineers from Philippine and Egypt, along with night guards from Mali).

Date: August 25th, 2014
Source: Multiple sources, news reports and news agencies
(Among many) the looting, burning and destruction of many houses and residences belonging to:
- Mr. Hossam El Din Al Taieb, broadcaster of Al Assema TV Channel - Tripoli.
- Mr. Mahmoud Misrati, journalist and editor of the New Libya newspaper - Tripoli.
- Mr. Jouma Al Ousta, director of Al Assema TV Channel - Tripoli.
- Mr. Mahmoud Al Ferjani, journalist and reporter for Al-Arabiya – Tripoli

Date: August 25th, 2014
Source:  trusted media reports
Fajir Libya forces declare that they will storm into and occupy any radio or TV channel that opposes “ Fajir Libya” operation and will arrest its employees.

Date:  August 25th, 2014
Source: Media reports and news agencies
A group belongs to “ Fajir Libya” breaks into Libya international TV channel in Airport road in Tripoli, looting its contents and occupying it.

Date: August 26th, 2014
Source: Al Assema Channel and other informed sources
Kidnapping of engineer Tarek Al Dursi, an employee of Al Assema TV channel along with his colleagues Saad Zaqoub and Hossam El Din Mohamed Al Masri by an unknown group.
Date: August 26th, 2014
Source:  Multiple informed sources
The circulation of lists containing the names of journalists and media workers claiming that they have been arrest by some armed groups, which was proven to be fabricated and unreal. “HESN” contacted the names in the list and was ensured of their safety and freedom.



Through the issuance of this report, “HESN” Center would like to emphasize its role in monitoring and documenting these violations and to demonstrate the seriousness of the safety and the lives of workers in the field of media and the safety of their families, which requires from the public and all sections of society including legal, rights and media institutions, to have a serious and an immediate action to stop to these abuses.

“HESN” considers these facts and the like which we haven’t received (or happened but could not be verified) an intellectual and moral terrorism and a flagrant violations to the freedom of opinion, expression and media, which was one of the main objectives of the 17th February revolution to achieve democracy, prosperity and a decent life for all the people of Libya.

“HESN” would like to use this opportunity to call upon all armed groups to desist from threatening journalists and media organizations, and to demand from the concerned authorities to work hard and fast to put an end to these frequent assaults on media workers and media institution, public and private ones. “HESN” considers the requirement to investigate these violations as very urgent and the need to try in a court of the law the perpetrators as top priority.

“HESN” would also like to emphasize that the complaints against media workers and institutions in case they didn’t accomplish their duties with professionalism and objectivity, breach accepted standards, use unfair and biased reporting, support one side against another, in the ongoing conflict in Libya, commit any of the press crimes punishable by law, such as incitement to violence or revenge or racial discrimination or the call to war and fighting, or the publishing of misguided news with the aim of fueling the conflict pitting one party over another; would be to resort to the Press Prosecutor Office which was created specifically to look into all cases relating to the media industry and its workers.

“HESN” also would like to remind all media people and institutions to take extreme care while carrying out their work, and to do their utmost in sticking to the high standards of their profession, and to heed the risks that might result from calls of discrimination, segregation and hatred, which may be built on the basis of race, sex, language, religion, nationality, social origin or political beliefs.

All journalists and media workers should carry out full investigation and verification before the publication and broadcast of any news or information, and they should differentiate very clearly between news, opinion and commentary and to refrain from mixing between them.

Article 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights legally prohibits any propaganda or dissemination of information for the purposes of waging war or that which constitute incitement to discrimination, hostility, violence or racial and religious hatred.

Article 2 of the Declaration by the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) at its twentieth session on November 28th 1989 , deals with the fundamental principles concerning the contribution of the mass media to strengthening peace and international understanding, to the promotion of human rights and to countering racialism, apartheid and incitement to war.

The Libyan state with all its competent institutions are obliged to make possible the existence of the appropriate atmosphere that allows a safe and appropriate environment for freedom of the press and media, as a reflection of their commitment and adherence to the Constitutional Declaration and to the international covenants and conventions, and to facilitate free access to information, which requires the provision of legitimate and legal cover for the press to be able to cover freely the daily events to guarantee their safety.

In conclusion, “HESN” would like to remind the legislative and executive institutions of the State that, in accordance with international conventions (in particular, article 19 of the Universal Declaration of human rights) should only criminalize a very limited number of forms of expression, namely those which represent very clear an imminent threat to the safety of the people, the rule of law and peace, the call war or those incitements to discrimination, violence and hatred.



“HESN”" center for defending freedom of journalists" 
Issued in Tripoli on September 1, 2014






















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(*) (Note: this does not include the attacks and violations occurred outside the city of Tripoli and suburbs)

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