Reporters Without Borders Condemns the Murder of Journalists in Libya

Woman journalist found with throat cut in southern Libya

Woman journalist found with throat cut in southern LibyaReporters Without Borders is shocked to learn that Naseeb Miloud Karfana, a TV journalist based in the southern city of Sabha, was murdered on Thursday 29 May. Her body was found together with her fiancé’s in the city’s northern Al-Hay Al-Jadida district. Her throat had been cut and she appeared to have been tortured.

Naseeb had worked for the state-owned TV station Libya Al-Wataniya as its programme coordinators in Sabha for the past eight months, the station’s director, Ali Shaniber, said.

Karfana left the TV station at about 7 p.m. with her fiancé, who came to collect her in his car, so that they could attend a friend’s wedding together. When she failed to arrive, her mother contacted the TV station, where an employee confirmed that Karfana had left.

The authorities have not as yet released any autopsy reports identifying the exact cause of death of the two victims.

Relatives said Karfana and her fiancé had recently received repeated threats from an unidentified person. Reporters Without Borders urges the competent authorities to carry out an impartial investigation without delay to identify the motive for this double murder, giving full consideration to the possibility of a link to Karfana’s work.

“It is imperative that those responsible for this shocking murder are quickly found and brought to account, in order to end impunity in Libya,” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire said.

“The environment in which journalists have to work in Libya is becoming increasingly intolerable. According to our tally, there have been more than 60 violations of freedom of information since the start of 2014, including two murders of journalists this week, although the motives for these murders have yet to be established.”

Karfana’s murder came just three days after Muftah Buzeid, the editor of the state-owned newspaper Burniq, was gunned down on a central Benghazi street on 26 May (LINK). The situation is now extremely dangerous for journalists in Libya.

The government must immediately take concrete and effective measures – executive, legislative and judicial ones – with the aim of containing the growing violence, including violence against the media. The new “free” Libya must accept its national and international obligations as regards freedom of information, expression and opinion.

Newspaper editor gunned down on Benghazi street

Newspaper editor gunned down on Benghazi streetReporters Without Borders condemns in the strongest terms newspaper editor Muftah Bu Zeid’s murder today in Benghazi. Gunmen in a car shot Zeid three times in the head and abdomen shortly after he got out of his own car in Istiqlal Street (former Gamal Abdel Nasser Street) in the city centre at around 10:30 am.

The 59-year-old editor of the popular state-owned weekly Burniq, for which he had worked for several years, was widely respected in Benghazi for his bold and firm criticism of the extremist groups operating in eastern Libya.

Zeid had appeared on the privately-owned satellite TV station Libya Al-Ahrar yesterday to discuss the latest events in Libya and the increasingly worrying political and security situation.

A few days ago, he told the newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi he had recently received a direct threat in which he was told his life would be in danger if he did not leave Libya within 24 hours .

The situation of journalists in Libya has deteriorated steadily ever since the overthrow of the Gaddafi regime in 2011, ending more than 40 years of dictatorship during which the media were completely gagged.

Libya Al-Ahrar’s Benghazi head of programs Khadiha El-Emaime told Reporters Without Borders: “As journalists and news providers, we all face the same permanent dangers in Benghazi , we all keep receiving threats in connection with our work and we can all be killed at any time.”

Reporters Without Borders urges the Libyan authorities to conduct an investigation as quickly as possible to establish the motives for Zeid’s murder and to identify those responsible, who must be brought to justice.

“We remind the government that guaranteeing the safety of journalists is crucial in the new Libyan state and that they will not be able to work freely if this is not done”, said Reporters Without Borders research director Lucie Morillon. “And, given the current climate of violence against journalists, it seems clear that those investigating Zeid’s murder should not rule out a connection with his work.”

Morillon added: “Legislative and judicial measures must be urgently taken to end impunity and uphold the rule of law while ensuring that freedom of expression and information are protected and respected, as this is an essential condition for establishing a viable democratic society for the long term in Libya.”