In 2011, Libyan revolutionaries finally succeeded in ending the 42-year reign of Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi. The latter had started out ruling the oil-rich and desert-heavy country with a combination of the kinds of pan-Arab and nationalistic policies embraced by leaders in neighbouring countries like Egypt. But he had ended up a harsh, repressive and unusual dictator.

Gaddafi was ousted by revolutionaries, with the help of the UN Security Council who declared a no-fly zone over the country to aid rebels. In October 2011, the main opposition group, the National Transitional Council, announced that Libya was officially liberated and in July 2012, Libya held its first free elections in six decades.

Despite being elected fairly to power, the Libyan government is still troubled by the power of various heavily armed militias, some of whom were created during the revolution and some of whom formed afterwards. It would be difficult to say that the Libyan government is in complete control of the country.

Media in Libya: The new freedom in Libya can also be witnessed in the media landscape, where a plethora of new newspapers and magazines sprang up; many of these vanished just as quickly as they came though. Like the Libyan people, the media are still looking for their place in a country. They are also looking for a way to become financially viable.
Most of Libya’s media organisations are run by people with party-particular interests; Libya cannot be said to have much truly independent media. Additionally topics covered tend toward the conservative – there’s no criticism of religion or mention of sexuality. Libya remains one of the most conservative of the Arab Spring countries.

There’s also a lot of trial and error when it comes to the media landscape here. For example, the government may make a media law then rescind it, when they don’t think it works. This is a reflection of the fact that, in general, and in a situation that is very particular to Libya, power in the country is shared between many different interest groups, and indeed, militias.

MICT has been active in Libya since 2011. The organisation has been involved in research about local media and in other activities. MICT has also set up an editorial office for the Libyan-based branch of the project.