DW Akademie has expanded its activities in Libya by signing a memorandum of understanding with the country's interim president, Dr. Giuma Atigha, aimed at reforming Libya's state broadcasting system.
The memorandum provides for the transition of the country's state broadcasting system to a public one. In the coming weeks, experts from DW Akademie - Deutsche Welle's center for international media development - will be traveling to Libya to advise state broadcasting stations Al Wataniya and Libya Rasmiya, as well as the media commission.
"German expertise is in high demand within the country's media sector," says DW Akademie Director Gerda Meuer. "This is partly due to Germany's own history but also because DW Akademie has been involved in media development for close to 50 years."
As laid out in the agreement, DW Akademie will initially be advising managers of state broadcasters, training journalists and editors, and supporting program development. This ties in with previous projects in Libya, where DW Akademie has been active since September 2011.
Last year, DW Akademie organized a symposium in Tripoli on the role and function of public broadcasters. At the end of 2012, DW Akademie invited a Libyan delegation to visit Bonn, Berlin, Halle and Prague to learn more about transition processes for broadcasters facing a post-dictatorship era.
"The visit had an impact because Libyans are particularly interested in the German experience," explains Martin Hilbert, coordinator of DW Akademie's Libyan projects. "After all, within the last 60 years we've gone through two major transitions ourselves: the end of the Nazi dictatorship and the collapse of East Germany."
"We can contribute to long-term changes in the media sector,” says Gerda Meuer. The memorandum is a significant step because "it shows that Libya's parliament is serious about creating a framework for public broadcasting. And that is one of the cornerstones of a democracy."
Libya is currently writing a new constitution that is also to enshrine a public media sector. DW Akademie's projects in the country have to date been co-financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation, the German Foreign Office and the European Union. Costs for transforming the state broadcaster are to be largely carried by the broadcaster itself.