News / Africa

Independent Media Emerge in Tripoli After Fall of Gadhafi

Anti-Gadhafi fighters read a newspaper where a wanted poster for Moammar Gadhafi was published in Tripoli September 1, 2011.
Anti-Gadhafi fighters read a newspaper where a wanted poster for Moammar Gadhafi was published in Tripoli September 1, 2011.

Multimedia

Independent news media are beginning to emerge in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, two weeks after the fall of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. They are pledging to help build democratic institutions that were never allowed to develop under his 42-year rule.

It is evening in Tripoli and newly re-opened Radio Shababiya is broadcasting a show about the rebels who recently ousted Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi from power.

Just months ago, such a program would have been un-thinkable. This government-owned station was broadcasting pro-Gadhafi propaganda aimed at the same youth who helped bring Gadhafi down.

Show host Mustafa Abdul Samad says during the Gadhafi era he worked for entertainment programs in order to avoid politics. But now it is different. “We can criticize anything. We can show our opinion and we can let the people express their feelings and their opinions about anything that they want to say without feeling afraid of being punished or being put in jail or our families will be hurt.”

Station director Walid Ellafi is a 25-year-old former rebel. He says this station has a new role: To give listeners a place to talk freely about their country's problems and press the government for change.

He says the small jihad, or struggle, was to change the regime. The big jihad is to develop the society.

He plans to launch television broadcasts in a few months.

Across town three editors, working in a converted shop, are preparing the latest edition of Tripoli's first independent newspaper. It is called Bride of the Sea (Aarous al-Bahr), a local nickname for Tripoli.

Editor Fathi Ben-Issa has been working in the business for 30 years. He frequently clashed with the former regime's censors and at one point faced charges of undermining the government that carried the death penalty.

During the fighting, he published anti-Gadhafi fliers while hiding in Tripoli. After the rebels took the capital, he rushed his first edition to the streets. It appeared last week.

Ben-Issa says he intends to allow all opinions in his paper, including those critical of the new leadership.

He says the Libyan people did not get a chance to work out their ideas and opinions like those living in the West. So he wants his publication to be what he calls a battleground of ideologies.

Ben-Issa says in Tripoli at least six newspapers already are preparing to publish. In eastern Libya, which came under rebel control six months ago, more than 100 newspapers have appeared.

Radio host Abdul Samad says the new freedoms bring new obligations. “This kind of freedom brings great responsibility to me and to everyone. We have to work for the best of this country. We have to improve Libya,” he said.

These media pioneers say Libyans understand what they have been fighting against.

But they say their society has never known the civic institutions needed to promote and protect the democratic freedoms they aspire to.

As a result, they say there is much work to be done. And for now at least, they welcome the competition being born in studios and newsrooms across the city.

You May Like

Myanmar Fighting Poses Dilemma for China

To gain some insight into conflict, VOA’s Steve Herman spoke with Min Zaw Oo, director of ceasefire negotiation and implementation at Myanmar Peace Center More

Australia Concerned Over Islamic State 'Brides'

Canberra believes there are between 30 and 40 Australian women who have taken part in terror attacks or are supporting the Islamic State terror network More

Recreational Marijuana Use Now Legal in Washington, DC

Law allows adults 21 and over to privately possess and smoke 0.05 kilogram of pot, and to grow small amounts of the plant More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More