Gaddafi orders release of 20 journos

2010-11-09 07:53

Tripoli - Veteran Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has ordered the release of 20 journalists working for titles close to his reformist son, who were arrested amid a mounting backlash from conservatives, state television reported.

The Oea weekly and the Libyapress news agency, both run by the Al-Ghad publishing company sponsored by Seif al-Islam Gaddafi, said on Monday that 10 of their journalists had been picked up by agents of the Internal Security Agency, among them three Tunisians and two Egyptians.

A further 10 journalists working for Al-Ghad titles were rounded up in a second wave of arrests, the company said.

Muammar Gaddafi late on Monday "gave instructions for the release of the Libyapress journalists and asked that an inquiry be opened into the matter", the television said.

Libyapress earlier condemned what it called the "shameful and scandalous" detention of its staff and demanded their immediate release.

Al-Ghad said it had been ordered to suspend publication of Oea after the state printing press produced its own version of the paper on Sunday with the slightly amended title Sabah Oea (Morning Oea) but with the same masthead and editor's name.

The company said the "fake" government version had no connection with the real paper and condemned what it called a "first in the annals of the Libyan press".

The Al-Ghad titles said the arrests may have come in response to an editorial in Oea calling for a return to government of some of the leaders of the 1969 revolution that brought Gaddafi to power who have since been driven from office.

Champion of domestic reform

The editorial said that the return of men like Abdelsalem Jalloud, currently without any public position, would help in the fight against rampant corruption.

Other Libyan sources said that the security police had also been angered by the publication by Libyapress last Thursday of a report that 1980s strongman Ahmed Ibrahim had launched a campaign against the rehabilitation of political exiles, a key policy championed by Seif al-Islam.

Since Oea and its sister title Quryna first hit the news stands in August 2007, the Al-Ghad titles have covered a raft of sensitive issues, including corruption, human rights and the Islamist opposition.

The company already lost its television channel Al-Libiya in June last year when the government made broadcasting a state monopoly. Oea has also had to switch from being a daily to a weekly, officially for financial reasons.

Long a key figure in Libya's foreign policy and an architect of the once pariah state's rapprochement with the West, Seif al-Islam has become an outspoken champion of domestic reform over the past three years.

As well as greater press freedom and the return of exiles, he has advocated privatisation of big swathes of Libya's large state sector and the relaxation of restrictions on the Berber minority.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    seif al-islam gaddafi  |  muammar gaddafi  |  libya  |  media  |  north africa publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

De Allende's star burns bright
Boks were 'in a dark space'
Pacific island teams singled out for rough tactics?
Ireland favourites but France bullish
Traffic Alerts

It is always easier to notice the faults in others rather than face our own. Focusing too much on the perfect and ideal more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.