Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Saif al-Islam's media agency censured for criticising the regime

In recent weeks, two incidents have occurred that have once again brought Saif al-Islam's hypothetical claim to succeed his father back to the forefront of public consciousness. Following his recent comments criticising the Libyan government for a lack of cohesion and organisation, his al-Ghad media agency has been censured by the authorities, reportedly for criticism of the regime.

The al-Ghad stable includes:

> a weekly publication called Quryna;

> Oea, once a daily but now a weekly newspaper;

> a radio station;

> Libya Press Agency news agency, and

> A television channel which was closed down in June 2010.

Printed by al-Ghad on a weekly basis, Oea has been suspended, reportedly after the publication of a negative editorial. It called for a further push in attempting to redefine government in Libya, criticising ongoing levels of corruption and once again demanding more reform. This time, the call is for the return of revolutionary figures to oversee investigations into corruption.

This is not, however, the first time that Saif al-Islam's capital assets in the media industry have been sequestrated, doubtless as a result of the growing audacity of the security apparatus in confrontation with Saif al-Islam's reforming allies.

Oea is, however, still available online, where there was notification of the suspension, despite an early lack of an official statement. Oea and another al-Ghad title were suspended for six months earlier this year between January and July.

Freedom of the press is clearly non-existent, despite the presence of privately-owned publications. Oea may have published calls for reform but the repercussions demonstrate that the Leader is not ready for open discussion on how the structure of the Jamahiriya might change, both in the immediate future and when he is unable to guide the country.

For more news and expert analysis about Libya, please see Libya Focus and Libya Politics & Security.

© 2010 Menas Associates

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