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Challenges for Independent Media in a Post-Gaddafi Libya

Over 60 people attended a panel discussion on prospects for independent media in Libya after the February 17 revolution. In Freedom House’s Freedom of the Press index for 2011, only two states—Turkmenistan and North Korea—ranked below Libya out of 196 countries. The survey noted that print and broadcast media in Libya were among the most tightly controlled in the world. The event focused on how the uprising has created a major shift in Libyan politics and society, with a proliferation of news outlets in print, broadcast, and digital media. These initiatives, however, are nascent, fluid, and operating in an extremely high-pressure environment. Panelists explored many of the issues facing Libya and provided insight to the following questions: What transitional structures have taken shape in rebel-held areas, and how are they laying the foundation for institutional frameworks for media? Where are the greatest limitations and gaps in capacity? What happens to the revolutionary media when the revolution is over? The panelists will address these questions and identify the most pressing needs and challenges for Libya’s emerging media.

A report summarizing the event is available in both English and Arabic here.

A full video recording is available here:

Challenges for Independent Media in a Post-Gaddafi Libya

Featuring:

Fadel Lamen

American-Libyan Council

Jamal Dajani

Internews Network

Adam Kaplan

USAID*

Torben Brandt

International Media Support

Moderated by:

Amira Maaty

National Endowment for Democracy

Thursday, October 6, 2011

2-4:00 p.m.

About the speakers:

Torben Brandt is a media advisor with International Media Support (IMS), where he has been working on a project to support independent media in Libya. IMS is a non-profit organization that supports local media in countries affected by armed conflict, insecurity, and political transition. Brandt has been combining his work as a journalist with his interest in media development activities in the Middle East/North Africa, Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa since 1989. He has worked for a variety of media and media support organizations, including with the Danish Broadcasting Corporation, in production, audience research, and community media, among other areas since 1976.

Jamal Dajani is vice president of Middle East, North Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean at Internews Network. Before joining Internews, Dajani was vice president of international news at Link TV and served as a consultant for PBS’s Frontline/World. In 2004, Dajani won a Peabody Award for his production of Mosaic: World News from the Middle East. A frequent guest on national and international media broadcast networks and a regular blogger for the Huffington Post, he has written widely on the Middle East. Dajani is a board member of New America Media, the largest collaboration of ethnic news organizations in the United States. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Columbia University, and is fluent in Arabic and English, and conversant in Hebrew and French.

Adam Kaplan has served as senior media advisor and senior field advisor with the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) designing, launching, and providing technical oversight for programs since 2006 in Sudan, Chad, Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Liberia, Colombia, Bolivia, Lebanon, Tunisia, Libya, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Kyrgyzstan. Kaplan has focused on media capacity, infrastructure, and regulatory regime development. OTI operates in countries undergoing political transition, and often engages during or immediately after conflict. Prior to his appointment in Washington, DC, he managed OTI’s media development efforts in Afghanistan and West Bank/Gaza. Before entering the development field, Kaplan worked as a documentary filmmaker and freelance television cameraman for numerous U.S. stations and networks. He earned a master’s degree from the University of Denver’s Graduate School of International Studies, focusing on international and intercultural communications, and a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College in film studies.

Fadel Lamen is president of the American-Libyan Council, a non-profit organization based in Washington, DC, dedicated to strengthening U.S.-Libyan relations through the promotion of educational, cultural, and technology relations. In his role, he advises the Libyan Transitional National Council on education, transition to democracy, and national reconciliation. Lamen has focused on the Middle East and North Africa for over 20 years, and appears frequently in American and Arab media discussing cultural, political, and economic issues in the region. He has supported several U.S. Department of State projects engaging the Arab World, and has collaborated on public diplomacy initiatives in the Middle East and North Africa. He also serves as a senior cultural advisor for the U.S. Department of Defense. Lamen earned a master’s degree in journalism and mass communications from the University of Colorado.

*Note: Adam Kaplan’s comments reflect his own opinions and experiences. They do not represent the opinions or policies of USAID.

About the moderator:

Amira Maaty is a program officer on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) team at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), where she focuses on Egypt and Libya. Prior to joining the NED, she served as a senior program officer at IREX overseeing international training and education programs. She has also held positions at Internews Network, coordinating journalism training programs in the MENA region. Maaty earned a bachelor’s degree in international affairs from George Washington University and a master’s degree in international peace and conflict resolution from American University.