Libya: Security forces must face prosecution for attacking journalist

Libya: Security forces must face prosecution for attacking journalist - Protection

Journalist Mohamed Messaoud. (Photo: Facebook)

ARTICLE 19 condemns the aggression against Mohamed Messaoud, a correspondent for the Al-Arabiya television channel, and calls on the Libyan authorities to hold the perpetrators accountable and honour their responsibility to protect the lives and safety of journalists, especially in light of the current political division in the country.

The physical assault on Mohamed Messaoud took place on 15 August 2022. Security forces in charge of securing the parliament building in the city of Tobruk carried out the attack, resulting in bruises on his body and face.

ARTICLE 19 regards the government’s silence regarding this and other serious attacks  as complicity with the aggressors and a violation of international standards that call on states to ‘take effective action to prevent attacks on journalists and others in retaliation for exercising their right to freedom of expression, including where this involves political speech, to provide protection to those who are at risk of such attacks, to investigate such attacks when they do occur and to prosecute those responsible, so as to end the culture of impunity for such attacks’.[mfn]See 2021 Joint declaration on politicians and public officials and freedom of expression, The United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on the Protection and Promotion of Freedom of Opinion and Expression, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Representative on Freedom of the Media, the Organization of American States (OAS) Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information.[/mfn]

In the same context, the Human Rights Council calls on States to ensure accountability through the conduct of impartial, prompt, thorough, independent and effective investigations into all kinds of alleged violence against journalists, to bring perpetrators, including those who command, conspire to commit, aid and abet, or cover up such crimes to justice.[mfn] See 2020 HRC Resolution 45/18 para 10 (d)[/mfn]