Libya: Libya Thinkers Blacklisted Online
Benghazi — Libyan media professionals and other intellectuals are in ever-present danger.
During the month of Ramadan, a hit-list including the names of a number of journalists, poets and artists appeared. It is being circulated on-line among hard-line religious websites.
Libyan thinkers and media professionals are very disturbed by the existence of this list, especially after one of the individuals mentioned on the list has been targeted.
Some of the most famous and outspoken artists and writers of the revolution are mentioned on the blacklist, including journalist Arish Saeed, current Culture Minister Habib Mohammed Al-Amin and the child Shorouk.
“In my opinion, the list was prepared by someone seeking fame by targeting Zeid Warfali or the child Shorouk (one of the most famous voices in support of the revolution in Tahri Square),” said broadcaster Zuhair Barasi, co-founder of TV station al-Hurra..
“This does not mean there is no risk,” he added. “The danger exists and we will not stop fighting.”
Libyan journalists have increasingly been targets of violence. On August 12th, television director Khadija Al-Amami narrowly survived an assassination attempt in Benghazi, whereas two days earlier, young journalist Azzeddine Qasad was gunned down in the same city.
“Media institutions can’t work amid intimidation and accusations of treason, and we won’t stay silent over any attacks on them,” Mohammed Al-Amin said following a June attack on al-Hurra reporter, Azzeddine Qasad.
“What is the purpose behind this attack? Is this the Libya we were aspiring to after the revolution? Differences are desired, but we want dialogue, balanced discourse and truth,” he added.
The minister called for all parties to preserve Libya and its institutions. Otherwise, he warned, Libyan citizens would pay the price.
Speculation about who might be behind the internet hit-list abounded.
“In my opinion this is an attempt to silence those voices in order to curb attacks by bloggers against mistakes and abuses practiced against Libya and Libyans by those in charge,” actor Farag Abdel Karim said in turn.
“We have faced threats since the beginning of the February Revolution and we are still threatened,” Karim added. “This is the case of all who speak for the truth and want to deliver a message.
Libyan authorities admitted to their inability to investigate the threats.
“All cases of assassinations that occurred were registered against ‘unknown’ due to lack of means to carry out meaningful investigations,” Benghazi security directorate spokesman Tariq Kharaz said.
Unfortunately, Kharaz added, security officers already fear being targeted by unknown gunmen and are barely capable of protecting innocent civilians.
“People are accusing more than one party,” 31-year-old Benghazi local council employee Siraj Masrati said. “Some put the blame on militants from Derna. Others accuse the cronies and hold them liable for all the chaos and instability in the country.”