Media and social change in Libya

Authored by: Mokhtar Elareshi

Routledge Handbook on Arab Media

Print publication date:  November  2020
Online publication date:  November  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138385481
eBook ISBN: 9780429427084
Adobe ISBN:


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Libya has witnessed major changes in its political, economic, social, and cultural aspects following the 1969 revolution and the 2011 unrest. This has had an impact on the Libyan media as a whole. After 2011, national media became free and, more than ever, there arose too many established media, but these are struggling to develop into a free and professional media industry due to the lack of any law or emerging policy to manage this field and to the vicissitudes of political, social, and ideological differences, in addition to the regional and partisan divisions that have led the country into chaos. Media organizations and journalists have been targeted for their criticism of government and society by different rival political and ideological groups. The spread of unauthorized weapons and the growth in militancy across the regions has added major complexity to the political and media scene in Libya. Intellectually and politically, the intensity of the dispute has drawn the country into a civil war with fighting between different factions. This chapter explores media and social change in Libya and its development over the past 60 years. It traces the historical background of press, radio, and TV, alongside their business models and the growth of competition. It discusses the laws and regulations affecting the media scene and the challenges of regulation following the Arab uprisings. It also discusses the social and political functions (including the space for free speech) of broadcasting, including censorship and the potential repercussions of social change in the transformations affecting Libyan society.

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