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Another journalist killed; more detained

Mohammed al-Nabbous, the second journalist to be killed in Libya's recent conflict
Mohammed al-Nabbous, the second journalist to be killed in Libya's recent conflict

The founder of a Libyan online news channel has become the second journalist killed in the country's conflict, while other journalists have been detained in Libya's effort to obstruct coverage of the uprising, report the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the International Press Institute (IPI) and Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

Mohammed al-Nabbous was shot by snipers on 19 March in the eastern city of Benghazi, while it was under attack from Muammar Qaddafi's forces. Al-Nabbou founded the online channel Libya Al-Hurra, (Free Libya), which has been broadcasting live footage and political commentary on the Internet since mid-February, when the uprising started. His last report was abruptly interrupted while he was apparently hit by gunfire.

A cameraman with Al Jazeera satellite television, Ali Hassan al-Jaber, was the first journalist reported killed in the conflict on 12 March when his crew was ambushed by suspected pro-Qaddafi security forces on a highway near Benghazi. A second Al-Jazeera journalist was wounded.

A number of journalists have also been detained or gone missing during the uprising. Four "New York Times" reporters detained during the fighting entered Tunisia on 21 March after Turkey helped secure their release, reports CPJ. Two Agence France-Presse reporters and a photographer from the Getty Images agency who had been missing since 18 March were released from government custody on 23 March, says CPJ.

But four Al Jazeera journalists detained on 18 March are still being held. According to Al Jazeera, the families of two of the detained employees have staged sit-ins at the embassies in their respective countries of Mauritius and Tunisia to demand their release.

The Qatar-based news channel said it holds Qaddafi's regime responsible for the safety and well-being of the four journalists and called on authorities to release them without delay. News of the detentions comes as U.S. and European forces have begun waging airstrikes against Qaddafi's forces in an effort to impose a U.N.-approved no-fly zone.

And at least six local journalists who spoke critically of government policies remain missing amid wide speculation that they are in the custody of forces loyal to Qaddafi, says CPJ. Three of the six went missing shortly after speaking to Al Jazeera on the air. Journalists working for the BBC, London's "Guardian" newspaper, and numerous other media outlets have also been detained for periods of time before being released, says CPJ.

Since Libya's revolt erupted in February, CPJ has documented more than 60 attacks on the press. They include two fatalities, a gunshot injury, detentions, assaults, attacks on news facilities, the jamming of Al Jazeera and Al-Hurra transmissions, obstruction and the interruption of Internet service.

The International News Safety Institute (INSI), a consortium of news organisations and journalist groups, is monitoring the evolving security conditions and issuing timely advisories.

Access them here.
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    After inviting foreign journalists into Libya, pro-Muammar Qaddafi forces have made every effort to impose a news blackout by confining journalists to their hotels, and assaulting and detaining those who try to report on anti-regime protests and violence against civilians. And as Qaddafi loyalists battle insurgents, deadly attacks on journalists have increased, report the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and other IFEX members. An Al-Jazeera journalist was killed on 12 March in an ambush on the outskirts of Benghazi, and three BBC journalists were detained for 21 hours and tortured.

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