Accountability systems

In a previous survey on the accountability of Libyan media, more than 82 percent of Libyans demanded that private media declare their sources of funding. This shows that the population is aware of the lack of transparency and accountability in the media and shows lack of trust and scepticism towards the nature and the sources of these funds.

Many of the media outlets present today were created in a legal vacuum and in an environment of uncertainty. These outlets were not monitored and this led to political corruption and to most of the media becoming extremely biased. The absence of an accountability system caused the media to be deeply involved in creating the chaos and inciting violence, which turned against media as well, as many outlets and individuals were targeted by armed militias. Assassinations and kidnappings are commonplace in Libya, particularly for activists and media personnel.

This led many of the media outlets to establish their offices outside Libya, which was a common characteristic of media during the Gaddafi regime times where opposition media was established in exile. At present the country is divided in different military and ideological camps, and militias are the dominant power that decides which media can operate in their area of influence and those allowed are usually allied and biased towards these armed groups.

Each of the two warring governments in the East and West of the country has their own Ministry of Culture and Media and Foreign Media Bureau. But their role as well as their real influence are limited, since these channels are either outside their sphere of influence (being based in Jordan, Egypt, UK or under the opposition area of control) or allied with an armed faction which the government is unable to control or hold accountable. The government in East Libya formed a Ministry of Information, Culture and Civil society before it disbanded the ministry and formed authorities, including the Libyan Radio and Television Authority, which is chaired by the interim government spokesperson Hatem Alaraibi. Similar steps were taken in the Western parts of the country. Public and state-run media are actually still operating in a similar fashion as they did in the Gaddafi regime days, as the leadership and editorial management remains the same, and this can be said for both factions.

Most channels are based outside Libya so it would be hard to keep them in check. But channels take their own legal actions against individuals and politicians and vice versa.