RSF deplores censorship of Libyan weekly Al Wassat

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns repeated seizures of issues of the weekly newspaper Al Wassat by Libyan soldiers and the intimidation of its distributors in recent weeks.

Ten thousand copies of this Libyan newspaper, which is printed in Egypt, were seized at a Libyan military checkpoint on 22 April and again yesterday as they were being transported by road to their distribution point in the eastern city of Benghazi. One of the newspaper’s employers present at the seizure was threatened. The same soldiers detained and interrogated the local distributor for three days before releasing him on 24 April. As a result of these threats, the person in charge of distributing Al Wassat in the west of the country has told the newspaper’s management he cannot continue.


Censoring media outlets and intimidating their employees is unacceptable,” said Yasmine Kacha, the head of RSF’s North Africa desk. “The restoration of peace in Libya requires respect for media freedom. Journalists have a key role to play today in Libya. It is vital and urgent that they should be allowed to work freely.”


Although a new, UN-backed Government of National Accord was installed in Tripoli on 30 March, the media continue to be subject to a great deal of harassment. In a press release on 31 March, RSF urged Prime Minister Fayez El Saraj to undertake publicly to protect media freedom.


Libya is ranked 164th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2016 World Press Freedom Index.