Reporters Without Borders (RWB) expresses its deep concern about continued attacks against Libyan journalists, condemning the latest militia attack, and the disappearance of Mohamed Neil, who works for the Chinese News Agency, in still unclear circumstances.
It said, Wednesday, that “the Libyan state’s disintegration and the failure to punish those responsible for such crimes has created a climate of violence that is extremely dangerous for the right to information”.
RWB mentioned the disappearance of Mohamed Neil, a photographer working for the Chinese news agency Xinhua, who went missing on 29 October, when, he was on his way to south of Tripoli and reportedly abducted by gunmen in broad daylight. The case recalls freelancer Mohamed El Hedi Dango’s abduction in Tripoli on 29 October 2014.
Yasmine Kacha, head of Reporters Without Borders’ Maghreb office, appealed the United Nations Special Mission In Libya to address the urgent need to face militia threat to journalists, adding that “There is an urgent need for light to be shed on these disappearances, the absence of a Libyan government, we appeal to the United Nations Support Mission in Libya and its new special representative, Martin Kobler, to address the need to combat impunity and, in particular, the militia threat to journalists”.
Reporter without Borders pointed that Libya’s militias are completely uncontrollable, within the absence of any state entity. Adding that their weight is becoming greater due to the political and military volatile balance of power between warring factions.
Militias have been responsible for 31 attacks on Libyan journalists this year. The last case register includes car chase involving two journalists on 2 November. Freelance photographer Mohamed Rhouma and freelance reporter Abdel-Monem Jhimi were pursued by gunmen in a car, while returning from a reporting visit to the southwestern city of Sabha. They fortunately succeeded in hiding and called relatives, who went to meet them and gave them the necessary protection so that they could return home.
Libya is ranked 154th out of 180 countries in the 2015 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.