Violence against women journalists escalates in Libya

Violence, harassment and death threats against media workers are escalating in Libya. Women media workers say that there is no law protecting the rights of media workers and press outlets in the country.


Benghazi- Journalists and media workers in Libya are often subjected to violence, attacks, and harassment and death threats. Especially women media workers are at the risk of violence and sexual assaults at work.  Violence against women journalists and media workers forces them to leave the country to protect themselves, their families and children. According to the report released by the Defender Center for Human Right in 2020, more than 83 journalists and media workers left Libya between 2015 and 2018 due to violence, harassment and death threats against them. Libya also ranks 143rd out of 180 countries in the 2022 World Press Freedom Index published by the Journalists Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

Violence against women increases

Barika Baltamr, human rights activists and the director of the Civil Society Commission (CSC), pointed out that violence against women in Libya has been increasing since the Libyan Revolution started in 2011. Stating that women journalists have been subjected to violence, insult, harassment and death threats, Barika Baltamr called for effective investigations to be launched into assaults on women journalists.

Demanding the protection of the rights of women journalists and media workers, Barika Baltamr said, “Women journalists and bloggers are subjected to online verbal harassment. Especially those who mention women’s rights and freedom are subjected to online violence. Libya has strict criminal justice laws, but there is no law protecting women while performing their profession. In fact, journalists are left unprotected by law in Libya. There is no law defining the rights of journalists and press outlets in the country.”

Social media harassment against women

Howeyda El-Serawi, a TV presenter in Libya, told NuJINHA that women media workers in Libya face social media harassment the most. “Women media workers are subjected to harassment, insult and violence on social media platforms,” she said.

“The number of women working in media industry is very low”

Journalist Fatima Al-Majbari told NuJINHA that there are systematic campaigns against women journalists and media workers on many social media platforms for political and social reasons. “In Libya, tribes are still very strong and affect society. Libyan society forces women journalists to keep silent about telling the truth because women journalists are subjected to death threats. For this reason the number of women working in the media industry is very low in Libya.”

The NuJINHA team interviewed many women journalists and media workers about violence and harassment against them but they refused their names to be mentioned in this article or appear in the video. Most of them confirmed that they have been subjected to various types of online violence.