Professional development

The Gaddafi regime heavily monitored the media, and after the uprising in 2011 a new era of openness ensued, but it was disorganised and chaotic, causing confusion in journalists and media professionals. They began debating what it means to be a journalist and searched for guidelines to lead the way, but they went astray as the state was in disarray and lacked any strategy to deal with the issue. Having no boundaries made media professionals more lost rather than liberated, especially after the many years of restricted environment.

After many years of pre-packaged media content which focused on praising the regime, the majority of the media professionals are still trying to use a similar mentality and formulas in the current state of events, by focusing on individuals and praising them, while slanting the oppositions and branding them as traitors of the nation and enemies of the people. This still receives a wide attention from the older generation who are used to such narratives and are programmed to reject new ideas, while the younger audience demands more from the media managers and professionals, requiring media with more transparency, neutrality and professionalism.

Most channels are actually funded by one group of interest or another, and they demand loyalty and use a more aggressive narrative to rally support for their political agendas, aimed at discrediting oppositions using rumours and fake news. Hence the audience shifts from one media outlet to the other when there is a drop in quality or an outlet is no longer able to provide the audience with sensible answers to the most relevant and burning questions and the conversation drifts away from the reality. These media outlets are often stuck battling irrelevant issues or downplaying much more important issues, such as elections, spread of weapons, corruption, etc.

But this applies to private media outlets and not to the state-owned ones who face bigger issues, as the staff is hired by a public procedure requiring specific qualifications, which results in the majority of employees being the same from the Gaddafi era. This makes it hard to modernise and keep up with the demand, producing non-newsy reports and redundant content which seems to follow the old regime formula of having no proper sourcing, only relying on the government’s statements and glorifying public figures.