Madrid, Spain – 3 June 2016 – A number of Libyan media managers and journalists have proposed a wide range of reforms to strengthen professional standards and advocate for freedom of expression as a cornerstone of Libyan society. Cognisant of the crucial role the media plays in national reconciliation, participating media outlets have agreed to joint initiatives to promote greater social cohesion in line with the expressed wishes of Libyan citizens.
Their action plan, which builds on the agreements from past meetings and the recently proposed Code of Ethics for Libyan Journalists and Media Professionals in a Time of Crisis, also makes a number of specific recommendations to both the executive and legislative authorities, including the establishment of an independent media regulator.
“Libyan journalists and media managers have an important role in reinforcing dialogue, reconciliation and mutual understanding”, stated the Secretary of State for International Cooperation, Jesus Gracia Aldaz, noting that, “The experience of our own transition in Spain has shown us this, that is why we strongly support the work you are doing to reform the media”.
Khaled al-Bahlul, owner of Tobactus Radio and Television Network, described this third Madrid meeting as “a huge step forward”, adding that, “We now have defined and tangible objectives, in addition to the frameworks established in the previous meetings in Madrid, Vienna and Amman which focused on rejection of hate speech, improved professional standards and the development of the proposed code of ethics. So we have a great responsibility to return the media to its true role to foster democracy and establish human rights and social peace"
Suad Salem, a Libyan journalist, expressed her belief that the action plan will succeed. “The participants may represent very different positions, but they managed to work together”, she said. " I used to feel so desperate about the situation we have reached in Libya, but this process makes me believe again that there is light at the end of the tunnel,” she added.
“To read this action plan is to understand the remarkable progress you have made from the first meeting in Madrid last summer” stated Ghaith Fariz, UNESCO Regional Director, adding that, “Your work is increasingly cited as an example of what is possible when Libyans move toward reconciliation”.
This activity is implemented by UNESCO in partnership with Spain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation; the Organization’s own contribution made possible through the generous support of the Government of Finland. It is part of UNESCO’s effort to reinforce the capacity of Libyan media to contribute to reconciliation and promote freedom of expression.
For more information, please contact: Raja’a El Abasi, Programme Officer, UNESCO, firstname.lastname@example.org +216 71 655 000