Press freedom

News agency for Libya

In Libya, the Media is under pressure; journalists are at risk. A new local news agency, however, may help to spread independent and balanced information, both in the country and internationally.

In Brussels on 19 November, the European Union and the German media-development agency  DW Akademie announced the launching of the “Libyan Cloud News Agency” (LCNA). The project is funded by the EU, and over a hundred Libyan journalists were trained by DW Akademie in the past year. They have been enabled to contribute to the agency according to international standards of journalism.

“It is a pioneer project that aims to establish a completely independent news agency to deliver  the truth about what’s happening in Libya to the Libyans and to the world,” says Tareq Al-Houni, the editor-in-chief of LCNA. Due to security issues, the agency is based in Tunis and relies on satellite links for transmission and a virtual cloud for data storage. The contributors work all over Libya, often in dangerous conditions. In order to protect their identity and guarantee their safety, all stories are published without by-line.

The project has given many Libyan journalists the opportunity to develop their skills in a wide range of training courses. “Participating in such capacity building was very important to me, since the Libyan media sector is struggling and my journalistic career couldn’t develop well,” says Mahmoud – which is not his real name –, a 29-year-old journalist from Benghazi, a city in the east of Libya. “The courses also granted me the opportunity of observing other nations’ experiences of news covering in conflicts zones.”

The news agency has appointed three mentors for the three regions of the country (east, west and south). They act as coordinators between reporters and the editorial team. “We are in a direct contact with the reporters, receive their material and check if it meets the agency’s journalistic standards before offering it to the editorial team,” says one of the mentors, who also wants to remain anonymous for security reasons.

Not everyone in Libya welcomed LCNA’s kick-off. Some see the EU funding of the project critically. High-ranking Libyan officials have even called the LCNA journalists “spies supported by foreign governments” and called on the army to catch them.

Nonetheless, more and more enthusiastic media workers are joining the project. Ali (not the real name) comes from a small city west of Tripoli, and feels “honoured to be trained by high-level professional trainers. I have learnt a lot from them as a journalist.”

D+C/E+Z knows the full names of the persons mentioned. They are not disclosed for security reasons.

Moutaz Ali is a journalist and lives in Tripoli, Libya.


Libyan Cloud News Agency (LCNA):

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