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Libyan photographer Mohamed Ben Khalifa killed during clashes between militia near Tripoli

Libyan journalists hold a portrait of fellow reporter Mohammed bin Khalifa, who was killed the previous day while covering militia clashes, during a protest to denounce violence against journalists, in Tripoli, 20 January 2019
Libyan journalists hold a portrait of fellow reporter Mohammed bin Khalifa, who was killed the previous day while covering militia clashes, during a protest to denounce violence against journalists, in Tripoli, 20 January 2019

MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP/Getty Images

This statement was originally published on ifj.org on 21 January 2019.

Mohamed Ben Khalifa (35), a Libyan freelance photographer, was killed on Saturday when covering clashes between militia groups in the south of Tripoli. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) expresses its deep condolences to the family and friends of Ben Khalifa and calls on authorities to urgently act to ensure a safe working environment for journalists and puts a stop to attacks against them.

According to AFP, quoting security sources, Ben Khalifa was killed by shellfire that hit the positions of a Tripoli militia that he was accompanying. He had worked for several national and international media organisations such as the Associated Press news agency or Russia Today and was known as one of the leading photojournalists in the country.

According to IFJ records, 20 journalists and media staff have been killed since the Libyan civil war started in 2011.


A dangerous country for journalists

Libya has become one of the most dangerous countries in the world to be a journalist. In addition to the killings because of the civil war, authorities are increasing their pressure, attacks and arbitrary arrests on journalists.

That's the case of Libyan journalist Ismail Bouzreeba al-Zway, who according to IFJ sources, was detained on 23 December in eastern Libyan city of Ajdabiya by the internal security forces and transferred to Benghazi on the 24th. He's accused of working for Alnabba TV, a private media channel based in Turkey that is associated with a Libyan Islamist group and which is opposed to the Interim Government and the Libyan National Army, which control the Eastern region of the country.

According to his family, Alnabba TV denied that al-Zway is working for them. He was held in detention since his arrest and has not yet been officially charged.

IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger said: "We urge the Libyan Interim Government to immediately release our collague al-Zway and stop violating his fundamental rights. The arbitrary detention of journalists is unacceptable. We call on both Libyan governments and all security forces to stop making Libyan journalists to pay the price of their fights".

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