News agencies

Libya's first news agency was launched in 1964, initially named Libyan News Agency (LNA), and renamed as Jamahiriya Arab News Agency (JANA) after the Gaddafi military coup in 1969. It was very close to the regime and was used as the main tool for the regime to control news out of the country. After the uprising in 2011 the agency was relaunched by the new authority with the same staff, but under a different name: Libyan Arab News Agency (LANA).

In 2014, after the Libya Dawn operations in Tripoli, the newly elected parliament moved to the east of the country, many of the government institutions moved to the eastern city of Beyda, and an opposition government was formed in Tripoli and named the Salvation Government. Like many of the state institutions that were split, each government started its own news agency. Following the political agreement, the new UN-backed government moved into the capital and later took over the agency that was established in Tripoli. As of today there are still two news agencies under the same name LANA, with two different websites. The comparison of news content is interesting, as it shows how both news agencies strive to glorify their respective government and discredit the opposition at every turn.

There are also a number of private news agencies, such as Al-Tadamun, a Switzerland-based agency that was established by the Muslim Brotherhood in 2011, but they are not very well known and lack in professionalism. They do not use proper and official sources and use a very narrow angle to approach issues in the country, pushing only certain narratives. These outlets contribute to enforcing particular views, those of conservatives who tend to focus on discrediting liberals and viewing them as Western tools to control the country. They also use other narratives such as branding their oppositions as anti-religious or former regime supporters and enemies of the revolution. The same is being done by other groups, for instance, the former regime supporters who brand everyone else as pro-West and pro-NATO occupation, while liberals tend to brand conservatives such as Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists as extremists, terrorist sympathisers or even terrorists.

The EU and Deutsche Welle Akademic were conducting trainings for local media institutions and professionals, but due to the security crisis in the country they decided to launch a cloud-based news agency in 2015, which is called Libyan Cloud News Agency and is based in Tunisia. This helped to overcome some of the barriers of regional censorship, but has generated criticism from media officials and security groups who believe it’s a spy tool, funded by foreigners.