We have been monitoring the developments in Libya for the past few weeks with extreme vigilance. Every time there is a war or a major crisis almost always the first victims are the ones who report the events. The role of the journalist is to report all sides of the story, irrespective of the event or the place they are reporting from. The current turmoil in the region is no exception; we have seen the difficulties that journalists are going through, risking their personal welfare and lives to report the events on the ground. Many times the reporters themselves have become the target and victims of the very situation they have been covering.
Our colleagues from Al Jazeera have been missing for over three weeks while covering the unfolding events in Libya – they are known to have been detained by the Libyan authorities near Zintan, north-west of the country and subsequently imprisoned in Tripoli. They include:
◦ Ahmed Vall Ould Addin
◦ Kamel Atallua
◦ Ammar Al-Hamdan
◦ Lutfi Al-Messaoudi
The detention and imprisonment of journalists are against the universal principles of the freedom of speech and against basic international human rights norms. Journalists undertaking their duties under extreme circumstances need to be protected at all circumstances.
We, the undersigned strongly appeal to the government of Libya to take consideration of the rights of the journalists who have been held captive and to the human consideration of their families and to proceed to release them immediately, with same gesture of good will shown to all other journalist released over past two weeks.
We expect that our call for the freedom of journalists will be heeded and we await the immediate release of all journalists detained