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Article
Publication date: 6 May 2021

Miral Sabry AlAshry

The purpose of this study is to investigate Libyan journalists’ perspectives regarding the media laws Articles 37,132, 38 and 46, which address media freedom in the new…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to investigate Libyan journalists’ perspectives regarding the media laws Articles 37,132, 38 and 46, which address media freedom in the new Libyan Constitution of 2017.

Design/methodology/approach

Focus group discussions were done with 35 Libyan journalists, 12 of them from the Constitution Committee, while 23 of them reported the update of the constitution in the Libyan Parliament.

Findings

The results of the study indicated that there were media laws articles that did not conform to the international laws and United Nations treaties, which the Libyan Parliament committee approved. Another finding from the journalists was the Constitution should provide and guarantee press freedom, while media laws articles approved to put a paragraph about “censorship” in the press and media as a tool to silence government opposition. In addition, journalists indicated future constitution should redraft Article 38 to conform with Article 19 of the “International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,” to support the “principles of freedom of expression and information” without control. Moreover, Article 46 needs to be changed and linked to the “provisions of international law on the right of information access” to improve the access and dissemination of information in the media.

Practical implications

Redrafting the constitution articles in the future can be summarised as follows: First, the Libyan Constitution should provide and guarantee press freedom without any censorship and include clear articles to protect journalists in conflict zones. Second, Articles 37,132 and 38, about “freedom of information and publication,” need to be redrafted to link with Article 19 of the “International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,” to support the principles of freedom of expression and information, and the use of this right must not be subject to prior control. Third, Article 46 needs to be changed and linked to the provisions of “International law on the Right of Access to Information” to improve access and dissemination of information in the media to protect confidentiality sources. The most important articles should be implemented (freedom of information and personal information act) because after the Arab Spring revolutions, there was a transitional period in societies and a change in the constitutions of Tunisia and Egypt. They developed legal articles about media freedom so that Libya resembles other Arab countries. From that point, the journalists recommended that all information should be protected from government interference to ensure transparency, combat corruption and protect independent journalists. These articles will open the way to add more development articles to media freedom rules in the Journalists’ Syndicate. Fourth, there are also various types of threats encountered by journalists in their work. In pursuit of their right and freedom of expression, they recommended that Libya must establish an independent self-regulatory media that are free from political and economic influence. Fifth, journalists need licenses for them to work through the syndicate. The new syndicate should play an active role to safeguard the rights of journalists, activists and media entities to carry out their work and end the self-censorship. Sixth, the constitution should also add articles to end the impunity and change the articles in the penal code. Overall, the journalists covering the conflict and war are encountering threats, violence and imprisonment. As a result, Libyan journalists must seek new legislation to defend independent journalism and freedom of expression in their deeply divided country. In addition, they need to have a strong central authority to defend journalists and journalism in wartime, where journalists are regularly threatened, abducted and sometimes killed. Also, the Libyan Journalists Syndicate should stress the importance of the media’s self-regulation to guarantee their rights to freedom of expression, grant their readers’ respect and minimise government’s interference. Finally, they need to develop new laws to grant media freedom from regulations and restrictions, as well as defend and promote democracy, the citizens’ right to be informed, as well as their right to discuss and disseminate information. There is also the need to implement articles in the constitution, articles about the protection of political speech, which would be specific enough to differentiate between what is legally permitted and what may be ethically offensive.

Originality/value

This study will help the new Libyan parliament after the legislative elections on 24 December 2021 to amend the media laws articles in the constitution.

Details

Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, vol. 19 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-996X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 22 February 2022

Miral Sabry AlAashry

The purpose of this study is to investigate the extent to which Arab Governments limited freedom of expression and access to information for journalists while they…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to investigate the extent to which Arab Governments limited freedom of expression and access to information for journalists while they reported on COVID-19-related issues.

Design/methodology/approach

Focus group discussions were conducted with 20 journalists from Egypt, Jordan, Libya and Tunisia.

Findings

The results of the study indicated that journalists in these countries experience violence in many forms as follows: torture, imprisonment, closure of their websites and censorship of content. In the four countries investigated, the results revealed that there is severe censorship (self-censoring and the governments) of the content presented to the public, an element that is inconsistent with the Arab Constitution, as well as international law, thus violating human rights laws. In addition, governments publish COVID-19 misinformation and at the same time, do little to support an independent media environment.

Practical implications

Arab societies are in dire need of freedom of expression and the right to access information to give journalists an opportunity to cover the news during the pandemic.

Originality/value

This study is important because it investigates the political changes that occurred after the Arab Spring revolutions in three countries, Egypt, Tunisia and Libya and the freedom of expression and rights is still restricted. In the same way, Jordan is a royal government that is trying to achieve democracy under a dictatorial regime. This study attempts to suggest practical solutions for journalists through various stakeholders by highlighting the importance of access to information and freedom of expression, particularly during the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. These freedoms are critical for journalists to provide health officials with information, improve the efficacy of public health interventions through feedback and prevent the spread of misinformation.

Details

Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, vol. 20 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-996X

Keywords

Expert briefing
Publication date: 11 June 2021

Libyan factions are divided over what constitutional basis to use for the elections, as the 2017 draft was controversial and not widely accepted. The debate also feeds…

Details

DOI: 10.1108/OXAN-DB262044

ISSN: 2633-304X

Keywords

Geographic
Topical
Expert briefing
Publication date: 18 May 2018

The National Conference, which aims to garner Libyans’ thoughts on the conflict and promote reconciliation, is part of the UN’s September 2017 ‘Action Plan’ for ending the…

Details

DOI: 10.1108/OXAN-DB233872

ISSN: 2633-304X

Keywords

Geographic
Topical
Expert briefing
Publication date: 22 September 2017

International diplomacy over the Libyan conflict slowed this year. This was partly the result of Russian-US disagreement over selecting a new UN envoy, and the waning…

Executive summary
Publication date: 22 May 2018

LIBYA: Rushed elections may complicate crisis

Details

DOI: 10.1108/OXAN-ES233938

ISSN: 2633-304X

Keywords

Geographic
Topical
Expert briefing
Publication date: 19 February 2018

With momentum stalled on negotiations to amend the 2015 political settlement for implementation, the UN has focused instead on preparing for new parliamentary and…

Details

DOI: 10.1108/OXAN-DB229855

ISSN: 2633-304X

Keywords

Geographic
Topical
Expert briefing
Publication date: 1 June 2022

The Cairo talks potentially represent the last chance for a deal between eastern and western factions, and their respective foreign backers. In late June, the current…

Details

DOI: 10.1108/OXAN-DB270587

ISSN: 2633-304X

Keywords

Geographic
Topical
Executive summary
Publication date: 25 September 2018

LIBYA: Referendum law amendment will cause delay

Details

DOI: 10.1108/OXAN-ES238738

ISSN: 2633-304X

Keywords

Geographic
Topical
Executive summary
Publication date: 26 January 2022

LIBYA: Factions will struggle to agree on transition

Details

DOI: 10.1108/OXAN-ES266938

ISSN: 2633-304X

Keywords

Geographic
Topical
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