Libyans are celebrating the death of dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Still, the country now faces major challenges as it starts to rebuild. DW Akademie is on location supporting the establishment of independent media.
Libya has been in a state of euphoria since last Thursday. People are not just celebrating the death of dictator Muammar Gaddafi but also the end of eight months of battle which paralyzed the country. Families are mourning the dead and there are portraits throughout the city of those killed. "We mourned our dead until Wednesday," affirms Ghada Faraji, a participant of DW Akademie's first workshop for radio journalists in Bengazi. "But since Thursday, we've just been celebrating." He and other workshop participants have recorded street interviews to capture the atmosphere.
The major challenges now facing the country include building a democracy, preparing elections and drafting a new constitution. The United Nations is calling for transparency in the formation of a new government as well as investigation into decades of regime-instigated violence and the circumstances surrounding Gaddafi’s death. The media could play an important role in this process.
"There was no independent reporting whatsoever under 42 years of Gaddafi's dictatorship. Free media simply didn't exist," says Michael Tecklenburg, DW Akademie coordinator for North Africa. "So despite the euphoria over Gaddafi's death it's important to view the National Transitional Council's (NTC) communiqués critically." DW Akademie trainer Sandra van Edig in Bengazi adds that the Libyans themselves have hardly voiced any criticism of the NTC.
DW Akademie is currently conducting the very first journalism workshop to be held in Bengazi. A week ago twelve reporters from four private radio stations began learning the basics of journalism. "After Beganzi was liberated they literally became radio journalists overnight," says Bernd Rößler, DW Akademie trainer and project manager. "The workshop participants are just itching to work journalistically and are incredibly motivated," says trainer van Edig.
Many new stations and media are now emerging in Bengazi. "The NTC is currently interested in taking over the former state broadcaster's facilities," Tecklenburg says, adding that in a situation like this it is important to ensure that independent, critical journalism can take root. The German embassy and the EU delegation in Tripoli have signaled they will support DW Akademie's efforts. A second DW Akademie workshop in Bengazi is to take place this November, and planning is already underway for workshops next year. "We're confident that we'll be holding many more workshops for journalists, technicians and also for broadcast managers," Tecklenburg says. DW Akademie is also offering its expertise for the planned reform of the Libyan state-run broadcaster and for the possible setting up of a training center for Libyan media workers.