Sunday, May 15, 2011

Censorship of Media in Libya Lack of Information

Susan Brannon
13 May 2011, Italy - The Internet was a main source in organizing the dates, times and places for the demonstrations in almost all of the Middle East uprisings. As a result, Libya has blocked all social networking sites, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.  They have also banned international journalists to enter into their countries to cover the revolutions and on 7th of April Gaddafi decided to deport 26 foreign journalists who had previously been invited to Tripoli.  Gaddafi blames the international media, activists, and journalists for the uprising and holds them responsible if the uprising continues to increase. 

The Libyan revolution was first organized and planned using the Internet for 15th of February with around 200-500 demonstrators showing up in various towns.  As a response, Gaddafi cut off the Internet and tried to impose a blackout on information from Libya. Libya jammed Al-Jazeera’s coverage and website, that disrupted it coverage it’s signal in the Middle and North Africa, according to a report on Reuters Africa and the 23rd of February.   On March 8th, they jammed signals from the local news program Al-Arabiya and a majority of Saudi owned MBC network.  He has arrested Libyans who had previously given phone interviews to the media and made it a crime to speak to foreign journalist. (The New York Times, February 21) In addition, the phone lines were shut down and cell phone service was shut down in the attempt to block all means of communication between the people.

Gaddafi wanted to control what was published to both his people and the international world, and therefore, targeted, and attacked international journalists by the military and gave mercenaries full reign of control. On March 9th, a BBC news crew was beaten and lined up against a wall by the soldiers, and then shot next to a journalist’s ear while laughing. (Telegraph March 9th)  (See Video)  

As the violence increased against the protesters so did the violence against journalists. A local journalist was shot in the head and killed after exposing false reports related to the cease-fire declaration. (Guardian March 19) He was known as the “face of citizen journalism” and set up an independent Internet station in Benghazi. 

The local citizens attempt to report from the inside, through videos, and using Twitter.  They can do this by leaving a voicemail on an international phone numbers and the service will tweet the message.  However, the tweets have caused some confusion, leaders would post on tweet as well as the protestors.  A flood of messages and users rushed to re-post the references to it, yet there have been numerous unconfirmed reports.

For example, this week Italy’s news (La Repubblica)  has been flooded with reports of a bomb exploding on the bunker of Gadaffi.  Yet, when I attempt to re-confirm this news, I have no proof through the mainstream American and international media, that the bombing has actually occurred.  (May 12, 2011) Yet, the reports continue today in the Italian news, posing the question if Gaddafi is missing, showing images of a video that was played after the bombing, yet the video date has not been confirmed, and has not been aired.  The Italian newspaper Corriere  reports on 13th of May, “NATO has no proof that Gaddafi is still alive.” Quoting Brigadier General Claudio Gabellini, in response to questions from journalists at a press conference in Naples.  They report eight nights of raids over three hours that targeted Tripoli and Gaddafii’s bunkers.  At least four children were injured.  There are also reports from an eye witness, of two explosions against the state television and official news agency Jana.  Foreign journalist’s were present in the building.

However, the NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said in a message to Gaddafi, “The game is over: there is no future for him or his regime” If all this were true, it would be big news. (May 13th, 2011) My question is:  Why are we not seeing this in the American news?  Are we being censored as well or did this even really take place.  If not, then why is the Italian news flooded with this event?

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