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Africa

Interview: Independent information for Libya

The newly established Libyan Cloud News Agency (LCNA) is Libya's first independent news agency. Editor-in-chief Tarek Al Huni underlines the importance of local information for a new, democratic beginning in Libya.

Libya's first independent news agency starts work on November 19. Set up jointly by the European Commission and DW Akademie, the Libyan Cloud News Agency (LCNA) is based in Tunis and relies on satellite-link technology and the use of the virtual cloud platform for data storage and transmission.

Tarek Al Huni worked as editor-in-chief of the Libyan newspaper "Business and Finance" until he resigned in mid-2010 due to the difficult political situation. He became Director of the Libyan National Channel Al Wataniya in 2013 but resigned a year later following the armed storming of Tripoli by "Libya Dawn" militants who attempted to control Al Wataniya and interfere with its editorial policies. Tarek Al Huni is now editor-in-chief of the Libyan Cloud News Agency (LCNA), the first independent and virtual Libyan news agency.


How do Libyans keep track of current events and get information?

Most Libyans get their news from social media, especially having lost confidence in the national and international media following the revolution. Social media is mainly fueling the current divide in politics and society in Libya and widening the gap between all parties. The LCNA’s priority will be providing information and keeping news feeds and reports up to date and factual. Trained correspondents will cover all regions of Libya.

Will the news feeds of the LCNA soon be the basis for news supply in Libya?
The main focus of the stories will be on humanitarian, social and cultural aspects of Libyan society. Another component of the LCNA is the continued training of journalists to further their skills and expertise.

What was it that particularly inspired you accept the position of editor-in-chief?
I worked as a journalist before and during the revolution. I think especially now, Libyans need information about Libya, from Libyans. This is absolutely vital for a new, democratic beginning. The LCNA is the first independent agency to be established in the country since the revolution. We urgently need such an organization, which can help us to restore stability and peace in the country.

Libyen Medien

Participants test the satellite-linked system


How great is the threat to journalists in Libya?
Libya is one of the most dangerous countries for journalists, as the Reporters without Borders index confirmed: Libya ranks 154 of 180 countries, where a higher number indicates greater danger. Libya averages two cases of bodily harm and kidnapping a week.

How do you protect yourself and your staff?
Our correspondents work in their home regions and cities where they enjoy the protection of their respective family clans. This helps them to avoid conflict and danger. Every correspondent group also has a coordinator in the same or a neighboring region who can mediate if they run into difficulties.

What are the greatest challenges facing the LCNA?
Attracting more users and subscribers from Libya to secure financing for the LCNA, raising the awareness of the Libyan people, and motivating journalists to bring information and real news to other very remote areas.

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