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Photographer killed during clashes between militia near Tripoli

21 January 2019

Mohamed Ben Khalifa (35), a Libyan freelance photographer, was killed on Saturday when covering clashes between militia groups in the south of Tripoli.

The NUJ and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) have expressed deep condolences to the family and friends of Ben Khalifa and calls on authorities to urgently act to ensure a safe working environment for journalists and puts a stop to attacks against them.

According to AFP, quoting security sources, Ben Khalifa was killed by shellfire that hit the positions of a Tripoli militia that he was accompanying. He had worked for several national and international media organisations such as the Associated Press news agency and Russia Today and was known as one of the leading photojournalists in the country. 

According to IFJ records, 20 journalists and media staff have been killed since the Libyan civil war started in 2011.

Libya has become one of the most dangerous countries in the world to be a journalist.

In addition to the killings because of the civil war, authorities are increasing their pressure, attacks and arbitrary arrests of journalists.

That’s the case of Libyan journalist Ismail Bouzreeba al-Zway, who according to IFJ sources, was detained on 23 December in eastern Libyan city of Ajdabiya by the internal security forces and transferred to Benghazi on 24 December. He’s accused of working for Alnabba TV, a private media channel based in Turkey that is associated with a Libyan Islamist group and which is opposed to the interim government and the Libyan National Army, which control the Eastern region of the country.

According to his family, Alnabba TV denied that al-Zway is working for them. He was held in detention since his arrest and has not yet been officially charged.

Anthony Bellanger, IFJ general secretary, said:

"We urge the Libyan interim government to immediately release our colleague al-Zway and stop violating his fundamental rights. The arbitrary detention of journalists is unacceptable. We call on both Libyan governments and all security forces to stop making Libyan journalists to pay the price of their fights."

Tags: , libya, journalist safety, journalists killed, ifj, safety