Media development organisations

Currently there are no structured media development organisations in Libya, while there are much needed efforts in different aspects. Firstly, developing management skills to promote sustainability is a need for both government and private outlets, as it could help them to survive in the medium term. Such skills include strategic planning, developing commercialisation and advertising strategies, providing time management and human resources training programmes.

Al Wataniyah TV is a prime example, as its management structure is directly inherited from the previous regime and relies on the former staff and managerial structures. Similarly, the GNA Media Office has expressed a keen interest in receiving support to improve its internal communication in order to increase its efficiency and communicate more systematically to the Libyan people.

There is also a need for further journalistic training programmes. Journalists and presenters need to improve their reporting, editing and presenting skills as well as their overall professionalism if they want to gain the trust of their audiences. The lack of trained personnel is hampering the development of existing outlets (like Libya Al Hadath TV and Havana Radio), and is also a barrier for new media outlets to enter the sector.

Technical skills also need to be developed concurrently with journalist training so that Libyan media outlets can survive autonomously, without having to rely on international support. For instance, the private Benghazi-based radio station Radio Shabaab Libya commented that they received a lot of journalistic training but not enough technical training, such as how to use mixing tables and other studio equipment.

The EU and multiple other international organisations funded numerous development projects, but they were short lived and irrelevant to the Libyan case. The main reason is that these organisations are not based in the country and they have very little access to Libyan journalists, except for those who are capable of travelling back and forth to Tunisia for training. Attending the training is extremely expensive and attending them makes very little difference. These courses may best be provided in the longer term by supporting University Media Departments.

It is noteworthy that governmental media development centres existed in the past, and like most of the government bodies they have been struggling or ceased to exist. In 2015, the New Media Development Center which was based in Tripoli and had many branches across Libya, relocated to East Libya after the civil war broke out in Tripoli. Identically most government entities split up between East and West, and new ones were formed. The main branch of the New Media Development Center was reopened in Tripoli after the new UN-backed government came to office, but due to bad management and lack of resources, its activities are limited to posting news on its Facebook page, as even its website was closed down after the initial relocation to the East. The Interim government decided in August 2018 that it was too costly to keep the centre opened in Benghazi and decided to shut all offices.