Libya: Strengthening Skills and Improving Safety for Independent Journalism

For the last two years, the Trust has partnered with the United Nations Democracy Fund and the Libyan Institute for Advanced Studies to train freelancers working across Libya, in safety and professional development.

Most of Libya's freelancers were 'born' during the 2011 uprising against Gaddafi, cutting their teeth as activists or fixers for international journalists and news teams during the conflict. Many have since found it hard to build a career because of the acute safety and professional challenges that they face. Libyan journalists are regularly threatened, kidnapped and attacked, making independent newsgathering extremely difficult. There is little local independent media and few freelancers have the professional knowledge or connections to sell stories to international outlets.

As part of this project, RPT undertook baseline research in 2015 to gauge the challenges Libyan freelancers face and create a workshop curriculum specifically tailored to their professional needs and safety concerns.

Over two workshops, in Tunis and Amman, 27 freelancers currently reporting in Libya made difficult journeys from all regions of Libya to attend training. Participants attended workshops in pitching and marketing, ethical journalism, freelance tradecraft, and took classes on personal safety, digital security and risk assessment. Course leaders included Reuters and Al Jazeera veteran Paul Eedle and freelance producer, Rima Marrouch. The safety training was run in collaboration with IFJ. 

Material from the training was also included in an online resource for all freelance journalists in Libya to access essential safety and professional information. Our partners in Libya are planning to use the workshop curriculum as part of regular education programmes in the future.  

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