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Reporting from Libya

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Jon Williams Jon Williams | 15:31 UK time, Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Some weeks ago, I wrote on the blog about the difficulties of reporting from Libya. Shortly afterwards, three of my colleagues from BBC Arabic were seized and abused by the Libyan authorities before being released. I said at the time that Libya was a "tricky" place to report from at the best of times - a month on, it's perhaps an understatement to say it remains so.

Allan Little

Every war has the "journalists' hotel" - the Hotel Continental in Saigon, the Holiday Inn in Sarajevo, the Palestine in Baghdad. This time, the Government has corralled around a hundred reporters from around the world into the Rixos Hotel - a smart, Turkish hotel that has just celebrated its first anniversary. It's the garden of the Rixos that you see night after night behind Allan Little and Jeremy Bowen.

But in truth, in recent days, it's become a bit of a gilded cage. International reporters are not free to move around Tripoli - even before the start of the air assault by Britain, France and the United States, the BBC team needed Libyan "minders" to leave the hotel. In recent days, they've not been around - this morning, on Twitter, one of my colleagues in Tripoli likened it to serving a prison sentence, albeit one with a fancy hamam.

During yesterday's Commons debate on Libya, the prime minister paid tribute to the bravery of the British journalists in Libya. But he also suggested that those reporting from Tripoli were reporting under what he called "very, very strong reporting restrictions".

While it's true that we can't see everything we want, we can say whatever we want. Our correspondent in Tripoli, Allan Little, is not subject to censorship, and there is no requirement for him to submit his pieces for approval prior to broadcast. The restriction is on movement - something we have made clear in our reporting.

But reporting restrictions are not just confined to Libya. British military operations are covered by "Defence Advisory" notices - agreed by senior officials from Government and also from the media. Such agreements are not new - the UK Government first sought agreement from the media not to publish information "of value to the enemy" nearly a hundred years ago.

Since 2000, there have been five standing "DA Notices" - the first of which covers current military operations. These are voluntary, and are advisory. On Saturday, the MoD asked British news organisations not to detail timings of planes leaving the UK for operations in Libya during the opening hours of the air campaign, or reveal the detail of weapons being carried - the BBC agreed to the request. You can read what is covered by DA notices here.

Jon Williams is the BBC World News editor.


  • Comment number 1.

    Good luck to all honest journos bravely trying to do their jobs.

  • Comment number 2.

    Jon Williams.

    "..the difficulties of reporting from Libya. "

    my biggest problem with the BBC's (and other 'accredited' news organisations) reporting from Libya is, frankly, that we never hear the voices of the ordinary Libyan people. you give airtime to Western 'leaders', military personnel, Mr Gaddafi, and even the 'rebels' -- but I cannot recall a single report where a non-partisan Libyan voice was heard.

  • Comment number 3.

    Jon Williams.

    "..the difficulties of reporting from Libya. "

    now that I've read about your difficulties, I'll tell you about mine:

    you (the BBC (and other 'accredited' news organisations)) give airtime to: the Libyan leader, some of the 'rebels', Western 'leaders', military personnel, and rent-a-quote pundits. however, I can not recall a single report where we heard the voice of a non-partisan Libyan civilian -- not one!

    curious, don't you agree?

  • Comment number 4.

    At least Gaddafi has allowed reporters into Libya. The Sri Lankan regime has denied access to Global media, Journalists, International NGOs, Human Rights organization and Diplomats to Tamils areas during the large scale ethnic cleansing in 2009 and this continued even today.

    There is no comparison to the mass murders, war crimes and human rights abuses of innocent Tamils by the Sri Lankan regime forces with the collaboration of the Indian regime and no Western leader has spoken like they rushed to deal with Libya although there is no comparison to the gross abuses in Sri lanka.

    The Western nations are always with Aparthied mentality and Double standards policies. It is history now that the innocent Tamils were brutally murderd, raped, tortured and kept in illegal detention camps while Obama was in the White House, Sarkozy was the President of France and Harper was the PM of Canada.

    It will be history books that it is not humanity but Western leaders greediness and OIL made the difference to attack Libya, a weak nation. The Western nations have destroyed Iraq and Afghanistan and its people and now they want to destroy Libya.

    God bless the victims!!!

  • Comment number 5.


    oops, sorry about that, #2 never showed until too late.

  • Comment number 6.

    A key challenge is context. With the Libyan government in effect censoring access, I imagine it is impossible or very difficult to understand and explain demonstrations in support of the government in context - what variety of opinions and feelings people have throughout Tripoli for example.

  • Comment number 7.

    Pure common sense should alert journalists to the risks of flippant reporting. At a war theatre where lives of dedicated servicemen and pilots are at risk, a rigorous code of journalistic ethics has to be in place. In this war against a brutal dictator who is prepared to stoop to the lowest levels, everything should be done to ensure that he does not stand to gain from any information. Secrecy and intelligence are paramount.

  • Comment number 8.

    'Our correspondent in Tripoli, Allan Little, is not subject to censorship,'

    Phew. That must be the difference between 'reporters' and bloggers, then.

    '.. and there is no requirement for him to submit his pieces for approval prior to broadcast.'

    Interesting. Oh, you mean by the Libyans... I thought you meant the vast collection of folk 'behind the scenes' here who exist to ensure the message is always 'on narrative'.

    Libyan minders must be an awful imposition on free speech.

  • Comment number 9.

    As for the dishonest ones, well...

  • Comment number 10.

    When did Jeremy Bowen and John Simpson last file? Should I be worried about their wellbeing?

  • Comment number 11.

    Should we even care about John Simpson...I as in Afghanistan in 2003 ..a more self-aggrandising journalist there never was! On a separate point... why oh why doesnt Britain accept the fact that the empire is a matter of historical record and not contemporary fact...why do we have to be the "Please sir give me an A*" pupils and expect another few biliion that we dont have and that could make the differwence between recovery and recession in our own country....and silence ensues in the corridors of "power" (sic....the corridors of the Independent School graduates!)

  • Comment number 12.

    ...apparently my posts are being "moderated" this would make four tonight on different world service media none of which have been critical of anyone living or dead....if that would make the difference ...I could slag off Genghis...however it is appearent that if you dont live in the country under discussion or you are not a "self-respected" journalist forgwet about it

  • Comment number 13.

    >> the BBC team needed Libyan "minders" to leave the hotel. In recent days,
    >> they've not been around - this morning, on Twitter, one of my colleagues
    >> in Tripoli likened it to serving a prison sentence

    Gosh, it sounds a lot like our western journalists are having to suffer the indiginity of being 'embedded'. Imagine that.

  • Comment number 14.

    Please expalin what moderation means....youre pop-up is lacking in granularity

  • Comment number 15.

    Btw Jon, any chance you could find out roughly what proportion of Libyans actually oppose ol' Mad Dog? I keep hearing on news reports that "the majority" oppose him (and I certainly hope that's the case) but I never hear how even this generalisation has actually been ascertained.

  • Comment number 16.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 17.

    Dear Public Servant,
    your required moderation is a screening that all British Broadcasting Corporation posters have to suffer to check that they are not immoderate . .
    . . a bit like a British bouncer checking night club guests for the presence of knickers,
    . . . or a British airport official inspecting the insides of your shoes for weapons of mass destruction.

    It's the way we are told to be.
    Makes one proud to be British.

  • Comment number 18.

    If it's too much for you all, you could always stop wasting tax payers' money on jaunting around the world and living in swish hotels, and get a real job!

  • Comment number 19.

    From GB why are we another war...again...its not ours...we have no EMPIRE ANYMORE (emphasis for the inbred public school element in the population)...and very very importantly ...yet again..THERE IS NO EXIT STRATEGY!..GO FIGURE ! I despair

  • Comment number 20.

    Can anybody provide me with a list of atrocities perpetrated by Gaddafi that justify this heavy intervention on the orders of the United Nations Security Council.

    I only ask because they must be much, much worse than those blind-eyed by the 'UN' such as Ruanda's genocides, or Cambodia under Pol Pot, or Russia's gulags, or Mao's re-educations.

    All I am seeing is young men jumping up and down in the street, battered pick-ups with the occasional gun fired in the air, and the usual precious reporting garbage.

  • Comment number 21.

    Once more, we are given grossly insufficient information.

    The man-in-the-street can make no objective assessment about whether the world is right, and, has a right, to bring yet another war to yet another nation.

    Maybe it IS justified (a Just war), maybe not,
    but have we learned nothing from the Blair -Bush wars of the recent past?

    Jounalism is EVERYTHING. Not censored, anodyne reporting of 'just enough' to keep the masses quiet, acquiescent and 'on message'.

    BBC - you fail by the standards we set you and, by God, you fail even by your own standards!

  • Comment number 22.

    The BBC has started to refer to the Libyan Government forces as 'Pro-Gaddafi fighters', they aren't, they are the armed forces of the Libyan state. Just because our airforce is attacking them shouldn't mean that we try to deligimise their status as soldiers. Most of them will clearly be acting under military orders, as are our armed forces.

    If we are to keep up the pretence that they are Gaddafi fighters, rather than Libyan fighters, then we should refer to our Airforce as 'Pro-Cameron Fighters' rather than the RAF - which of course would be ridiculous.

  • Comment number 23.

    Can anyone explain the accounting for the cost of the military operation? Who pays for what? e.g. total the cost for each participant and then divide by how many? who? Do we get the cash back, is there a credit left on account?

  • Comment number 24.

    Perhaps he doesn't want journalist's wondering around Tripoli giving his location away via some chance meeting. No Doubt a drone would soon be on its way to do the business .

    Not regime change - Sure ...

  • Comment number 25.


    No cash back mate , just extra tax's to pay for it all , within 6 months the UK bill will exceed a billion , enough to build 200 new schools or keep 30,000 nurses in employment for a year.

    For what nothing , just a partitioned Libya...

  • Comment number 26.


  • Comment number 27.

    My god, I truly do not like leaping in to defend the BBC, which certainly has its faults, but the tired repitition of the same old bilge, irrespective of story, that emerges when a statement like this is put out just seems preposterous to me; the vast majority of comments are quite clearly rants that, but for a quick cosmetic tune up, would be and are repeated ad naseum whatever the post, and as usual attempt to affiliate a free and respected broadcaster (which, again, has its issues) with the same brush as the 'minding' of journalists by dictatorial regimes or imply systemic biases which often make no sense (usually in the form of contradictory opinions of party political bias, though not in this instance at least) or are irrelevant.

    Oh, and it might be trite but it is true, but just because we cannot or have not done the right thing all of the time, does not mean that we should not do the right thing at any time. Thinking intervention in Libya is wrong is an opinion and fair enough; arguing we didn't help in Rwanda (whose president is happy with the intervention btw) or other places and so should not now, with the implication being it is still a good thing, is a fallacy. And before anyone says anything, at present the situation in Libya is different than other crackdowns in the region; tragically many have died in other countries, but over 10,000 have in libya with no end in sight, and unfortunately direness of need is a factor in a limited world.

    I for one am happy to note the BBC is addressing the concerns many people have that they are not able to move about at will or talk to people even in the limited sense they were a little while ago and that they are aware of this, which explains why when, when the rebels send in info that BBC journalists are not on hand for, it is also reported as 'cannot be independently verified'. I don't think anyone would pretend most in the BBC as individuals would like Gaddafi and his regime gone, but they have done that much, and that attacks on it are amazingly tangential or just plain hyperbolic in almost all examples.

  • Comment number 28.

    The force would say they are not targeting civilians, but some will always occur and that is sad, but let us remember the US defence secretary's words pointing out weeks ago that implementing a no-fly zone means bombing things - which inevitably leads to some civilian deaths at some point - and since the UN mandate went far beyond merely imposing a no-fly zone (all necessary measures - short of ground troops) I doubt regrettable civilian deaths as a result of the action go beyond it unless the forces start targeting schools or university's or such.

    Or perhaps you'd prefer to comment on the difficulties of reporting from Libya instead?

  • Comment number 29.

    '26. At 23:31pm on 22nd Mar 2011, ajazhaque'

    As 'war' (or whatever things that go bang is now called to make it seem 'nicer') is fast becoming robot-driven, maybe it's time to dust off Asimov's laws?

    Only as good as those who program them, mind.

    Maybe this is more like it:

    But then life can often be more complicated than fiction.

  • Comment number 30.

    The issue with the BBC coverage of Libya is not the work of individual journalists which I am sure is well intentioned it is the editorial narrative that is being rammed down our throats.

    The BBC along it must be said with the bulk of the print media has decided to push a fairy tale of poor wide eyed civilians at the mercy of a bugged eyed monster in the form of gaddaffi.

    The reality is much more complex with an armed insurrection featuring disaffected army elements layered over a fractured country reft by conflicting tribal loyalties. The BBC really does do us the public a huge disservice by completely ignoring the actuality of the situation instead cramming the evolving situation into a fight for democracy box that suits the government and suits the rebel spokesmen.

  • Comment number 31.

    'Reporting' and hence (sadly) knee-jerk governance and hence prosecution of such as hostilities seems pretty much dependent on the demands of a 24/7 news cycle, where 'something' has to fill every second of dead air no matter what is known, or not, or any consideration of the consequences.

    With a less than savoury dollop of agenda usually thrown in via opinion to further muddy putrid waters.

    I am fast becoming of the view that 'our' media are not so much part of the problem, but pretty much in the driving seat.

    Elliot Carver is alive and prevailing, in private and public corporations around the world.

  • Comment number 32.

    The journalists in Tripoli are doing the best possible in difficult circumstances. But is the best worthwhile - especially when you add in the pressure that your up till now pleasant jailers could turn very unpleasant on a whim and nothing could be done about it.

    But why so little reporting from the East, from the alternate and clearly more legitimate government, the Libyan Republic? Why do we hear so many diatribes from Gadhafi's clan and so few from the other side? For one thing the Libyan Republic is a coalition and differences make anything a spokesperson from them say interesting. And why is the BBC not taking advantage of the fact that in Benghazi it is still possible to go places without minders are we not getting to hear the voices of ordinary Libyans.

    Daivid B

  • Comment number 33.

    30. At 08:42am on 23rd Mar 2011, SotonBlogger wrote:

    The BBC along it must be said with the bulk of the print media has decided to push a fairy tale of poor wide eyed civilians at the mercy of a bugged eyed monster in the form of gaddaffi.

    The first step in any UK armed intervention is the creation of a bogeyman, that is the task of the UK media, with the BBC leading the pack. This is an essential step in softening up the already pulp brained UK public for another round of hostilities.

    The bogeyman is generally someone who was being portrayed as a friendly face only a short time before, but then is transformed into the epitome of evil, a drooling blood-soaked monster who simply must be dealt with. Goodness me, I even recall this magic at work with Nasser in the 50's, the Ayatollah in the 70's, avuncular old Saadam, freedom fighter Bin Laden leading his brave Mujahadin against the commies etc etc. The great British public simply must have a bogeyman, otherwise they won't let their sons get sent abroad to fight people they know nothing about, and care even less about.

    Call me a cynic, but I don't blame the BBC. I blame the British public. They get exactly and precisely what they deserve. Now I can sit back and wait to be lambasted as an appeaser of tyranny by people who have no more real knowledge of the position in Libya than I do. Maybe Gaddafi is the least popular leader in the world, maybe most of his people love him dearly. I'll never find out, though, and neither will anyone else, not from the UK media, at any rate.

  • Comment number 34.

    I am very concerned and disappointed in this so called ‘allied operation’ in Libya. Have the West ever learned from their recent wars? Nothing, it seems except for us to read through the fog of very questionable news reporting.
    How about Iraq war and a possibility for West to control its oil? How about Afghanistan war and a possibility for West to control oil transport from Kazakhstan without using Russian territory? How about Libya and a possibility for West to control its oil?
    Japan’s problems with the nuclear plant after the earthquake, tsunami and explosion just have shown to the whole world that nuclear power will always be caught between huge risks and huge costs, and that oil will still be an energy source for many years to come. However, it is rather widely known that oil supplies are limited and that West will face sooner than later with energy shortages, especially for its transportation needs.
    So, instead of believing in and telling us fairy tales about ‘allied operation for support of Libyan population against its governmental forces – I am not sure I have seen clear pictures of citizen being attack by Libyan governmental forces as we all have clearly seen them in Tunisia and Egypt – how about informing us that West would like very much to support a new Libyan Government which will be attentive to West needs and which will not be as defiant as Col Gadafi’s.
    I have been personally very much offended by reports on the Libyan situation which have appeared in the UK press. These air bombardments carried over Libya are compared by the similar ones carried over Bosnia. Let me remind everyone that West carried out bombardments over Bosnia after 4 years of the whole world watching Milosevic’s forces successfully carried out genocide and destruction there. Why have West waited so long before interfering? What to say about West not interfering in Ruanda to prevent genocide carried out for years there? How about support for civilian in Somalia, Sudan, Uganda? Unfortunately, let me remind you again, these countries are not known for their oil or any other strategic energy source so why bother?
    Lada Kostan, London

  • Comment number 35.

    Can any one really clarify why we are wasting money on Libya, Afganistan, Iraq, India, China, africa and over 90 other countries which the gov proudly boasts we are supporting financially every year ?

    We are in the worst recession for 70 years,
    People are losing their houses, jobs, self respect.

    The NHS is all but destroyed, we are paying almost £1.40 for a litre of petrol, (80% tax) our roads are full of potholes, (where is our road tax going) MP's are are getting upwards of £200k per year for expenses, overseas contributions for Africa, India, China, War in Afganistan, Iraq and now Libya, (shouldn't even be there) the EU immigration all costing us upwards of £800 Billion per year.

    This is while we are losing everything our jobs, benefits, pensions, tax refunds, and all the above.

    What planet do the MP's and the minority of the Brit public think we are living on?

    It is illegal to criticise the race relations board, immigration and fraudsters within the government. Don't name names or you will not be published.

    Freedom of speech has all but gone.
    What has happened to our once glorious country ?

    Get out of the EU and lets govern ourselves once again.
    Queen victoria / Sir Winston Churchill will be turning over in their graves.

  • Comment number 36.

    Jon Williams

    While you are busy soaking up the drool from Mr Cameron perhaps you'd like to answer this poser asked by Simon Jenkins reporting in the Guardian:

    "BBC interviewers invariably showed an interventionist bias, pressing ministers on why they were not doing more, intervening sooner and spending more on defence. I heard none ask what business is Libya of ours."

    If the BBC were a little more circumspect about any form of military intervention pehaps your journalists in Libya would have more credibility as a neutral and independent voice for the people. We may learn what they really want, what they really need, and what they really would like to happen next. And I don't think they want a bloodbath.

    The BBC has known Gaddafi was mad for a long time; what has happened to suddenly turn the Corporation into a mirror image of some unspeakable red tops? Is it really that hard for you to lose a little of your fat income?

  • Comment number 37.

    Seeing the 'impartial' reporting by the BBC on Afghanistan,Iraq and Libya , I shudder to think of the accuracy of the WW2 history , as we know it , at a time when 'history' was a monopoly of the allied powers.

  • Comment number 38.

    No 36

    I have also NEVER heard any of the people commenting on our overseas bill while ALL appear (I say Appear) to be resigned to excessive bills, tax, lack of care for all that is British and support for the EU.

    This must all be edited out as I know it is.

    I was interviewed on what I think should be done to support our financial position.
    My interview lasted for all of 10 seconds as I didn't say what the bbc wanted me to.
    I blasted the media and government for wasting our tax money on overseas gifts to the tune of £800 billion every year, so the interview was stopped.

    I call this severe disregard of our human rights and freedon of speech.

    Needless to say it was never shown on the bbc.

  • Comment number 39.

    The world promised to mentain a no-fly-zone over Libya but it seems like they are seeking to dethrone Gadafi and allow more blood share against pro-Gadafi.
    They had effected a no-fly-zone but still seeking to attack his forces on the ground and allowing the REBELS to advance against him(Gadafi)...,What's the message,is it the same with Saddam?

  • Comment number 40.

    Lies, lies and gross twisting of truths
    The BBC has really sunk to the gutter demanded of it by HM Government
    Have you no pride?

  • Comment number 41.

    Pakistan is called the Fort of Islam. The only country in world that is established on Islamic Ideology. Its really very tragic why does the most popular media groups in Pakistan are not disseminating News on recent Libya Attacks.
    Why GEO is not giving out Libya Attack news? Where is vanished its AMAN KA CHHAKKA? Happy on glorious victory of Pakistan cricket; dedicating to Libyans. Samiullah Bhatti is with you.

  • Comment number 42.

  • Comment number 43.

    Reporting from Lybia:

    Ben Brown - indeed

    When you watch the BBC news regularly, you can, on occasion, tire of even your best reportors.

    Take Ben Brown. Not content with saying 'thank you' or 'thank you very much' he seems only to utter 'thank you very much indeed'. 'Indeed' is a superlative to be used only sparingly and for emphasis. Ben, why can't you just say 'thank you' like the rest of your colleagues?

    Anyway, do keep up the good work, and....

    thank you (no superlatives)

    Denis Henshaw

  • Comment number 44.

    42. At 13:08pm on 24th Mar 2011, Oz_comment wrote:
    This could be of interest


    Thanks for the link. This is actual journalism, which the BBC seems incapable of these days, being more interested in its own agenda, whatever that may be, than objective reporting of the facts.

  • Comment number 45.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 46.

    When will there be a true African Union which will voice out like other countries of the world which have openly criticized the west for its role in the Libyan crises?
    You (AU) are not even recornize by the west when it comes to issues of vital discissions making as the case of Libya...,can't you realize this?
    When will you make a discission on protecting Africa?

  • Comment number 47.

    Wow! A lot of confused allegations flying around from our disgruntled blogger, Joshua Goldblum (post 35). To address them all would be tedious, so I will single-out the most flawed and unrealistic and the ones that are currently of particular interest to me.

    "Rule Britannia"...excuse me, Mr. Joshua Goldblum, how many centuries in history passed you by! Could you please share with us your definition of "once a glorious country"? This comment is confusing to me because if your standards derive from a bygone Imperial era in Great Britain, one would assume your support for any and all forms of intervention and meddling in foreign affairs - regardless of the negative affects to the peasantry populous - would be unwavering. Interestingly, now that your "glorious country" applies those 'glorious' principles with a detrimental affect to you, your concurrence evaporates.

    Either way, we could all be accused of hypocrisy; however the notion of a once glorious country, based on the virtues that seem to resonate with you, must be thoroughly and immediately stamped out and restored with a more factual recollection for constructive dialog to resume.

    There are matters on which you and I may agree; but we would first need to establish a common ground based on realism and truthful historicity. Having found those footings, we could examine some of your others claims, such as the erosion of "freedom of speech", but again we would need to recognize this goes both ways. For instance, the UK’s contract, not just with the EU, but with the UN and all other International law agencies, mandates the backing and support for populations unable to even conceive our taken-for-granted freedoms. Your overarching theme then becomes even more convoluted and problematic to discern.

    So, at a glance, your points seem superficial and capriciously penned. I apologize if there is a depth that I have not yet detected; but I’m sure you’ll take the opportunity to unpack your ideas more clearly and prove me wrong. I just hope there’s not something more sinister lurking when your ideology becomes more transparent.

  • Comment number 48.

    Dear Jon,

    While we sincerely appreciate the risk-taking by BBC journalists, I feel that the BBC coverage of Libyan war is too one-sided towards the Rebels and supporting your Governments. At times the bias of the reporters is so clear in the choice of words they use and what/how they report.

    Even in Iraq war, this bias was not seen. We always used to look at BBC as 'Bland Reporting' as much as possible (without being spicy) good for health. In this case it has not been so.


    Balajee Rajaram

  • Comment number 49.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 50.

    No: 47

    After all that bantering No 47, what good does excessive expenditure and trying to be the worlds policeman do for the UK when ALL our taxes are wasted overseas?

  • Comment number 51.

    My Word,
    How BBCNews wants to hear from the repressed Arab World, yet it has decided to close comments from the ordinary English license paying people on its "Have your say"site.It indicates just one thing........
    Massive hippocrasy!!
    Well done Mr Alex Grubby.

  • Comment number 52.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 53.

    Jon, I and am sure many others, are very grateful for the great work done by the BBC reporters covering the North African uprisings. As the involvement of the international community through the UN and AU increases in an effort to resolve the Libya crisis, it would be great to have some reporting on public sentiment around the intervention to complement the on-the-ground coverage.

    In South Africa, at least, the topic of international political intervention in Libya is proving to be a sensitive one, and no doubt following the US approach to Iraq, it will be of interest to see how carefully foreign powers will tread here. Covering these aspects on the Libyan uprising will certainly provide much value add in terms of context for readers.

    Pratish (African news blogger)

  • Comment number 54.

    Why are these fighters called: REBELS??
    When will the News Media STOP Calling FREEDOM FIGHTERS in LIBYA the NAME" REBELS"! The devendors of democratie in that Country are "Patriotic LIBYAN Freedom Fighters". They are FREEDOM FIGHTERS! Not Rebels!!
    The News media should: Stopp calling them Rebels! The media should know MUCH Better!!! Stop stamping them REBELS! Give them or call them by what we are all seeing yiu reporting:FREEDOM FIGHTERS!

  • Comment number 55.

    Since the day Coalition Force started non-flight zone mission at Libya, there being lots of news coverage onto various subject. As a viewer, I was very doubtful onto the actual purpose of this war. Whereby, we hear news onto rebel celebration and cheering NATO Force attack allowing them to advance into other cities in the country.
    But, I think most of the people in the world would wondering this “Who is the Rebel? Who is their leader? What is theirs objectives?”
    If a rebel have no leader, then based on what NATO could enforce support to them and mentioning protection of the peoples of Libya? If NATO do not know their leader, who NATO is working with to ensure all mentioned “Protecting The People”. If NATO do not know who is the Rebel actually and their purpose, then on what element of peace that is NATO launch the attack?
    Sincerely, as a normal person, I do not understand the purpose of NATO action but seemingly to me that NATO is simply act as Largest International Body that could launch attack to any smaller country without actually have to understand, negotiate in peaceful manner and most importantly is opening announce whom are they working with and understanding onto the right person or force in Libya clear objectives.

  • Comment number 56.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 57.

    All these years we have seen the design of the west. It is all in the planning of west at what point of time a country is to be democratised. Time has come for Libya. US is one of the most immoral country on earth.

  • Comment number 58.

    So, we bomb Libyan Army positions to prevent them attacking Benghazi thus protecting civilians. But do not bomb the anti government forces when they attack towns? So much for protecting civilians. Not something I have noticed any journalists pressing the government on.

    Now the US is talking about arming the the anti government forces. If it's regime change you want that's the way to start. But does anyone actually know who these guys are and what they want? Okay, they are not Gadaffi, but what's to say they will not be even worse?

    Surely the BBC journalists should be exploring these issues and not telling us that they can say what they like but it's pretty pointless as they don't get to see anything.

  • Comment number 59.

    Jon, "tricky" is indeed an understatement when it comes to reporting from places undergoing such turmoil. I've worked as a photographer and humanitarian aid provider in quite a few tricky areas in the world - including covering Libya and Bahrain as some of the revolutions unfolded over the last couple of months. While I do accept the threats associated with our profession as part and parcel of our jobs, I do believe the general public really do not appreciate what journos, photographers and people working for aid NGOs actually experience when they are on the ground in these locations.

    It's tough to see such acts of brutality and violence, and I would say the effects of that in itself can be significantly worse and longer lasting than any threat you feel when you're on site. What these journalists produce under pressure is amazing and their work should really be recognised in the full context of what they need to endure to successfully do their jobs. Well done to them and keep up the good work BBC.

    Olga - Czech on Africa blog

  • Comment number 60.

    Why is the BBC still repeating that Misrata is the only rebel held town in the Western side of Libya. Today I see this is repeated yet again on the April 5th Libya blog. Yet reports are clear that Zintan, Nalut and other towns in the west are in the hands of rebels and often under attack too. I have asked about this more than once so why is it repeated again and again? Is it to push the idea that a partition is inevitable and that the West side is now all pro Gaddafi? It clearly isnt.

  • Comment number 61.

    At 19:34pm on 24th Mar 2011, jonwalksred wrote:
    Wow! A lot of confused allegations
    Jon ! You should be in government as they appear to be as confused as you. By the way they are not allegations do your sums or was not that a strong point with you the same as our elected government in the UK and the Fascist gov (unelected) in Brussels.

    The Gov was elected to look after our interests, instead of this they are doing everything but.

    Up to £800billion every year of our taxes spent abroad on over 90 different countries !
    More given to Pakistan, Portugal, Ireland now the Mau Mau compo - how much longer can we keep this up?
    Billion of pounds lost each year while we sink deaper into depression.

    You truly are a UK destroyer.
    We are no longer a world power, the worlds policeman, a ruling power, a commonwealth (wealth being an innoperative word) leader, a colonial ruler.

    It is time to stop robbing the Brit Public and spend our taxes at home where it is required.
    Instead of giving our taxes away how about supplying the drugs to the NHS which are so badly needed? Rebuilding our road/rail networks, creating jobs, investment in our future instead of destroying our future?

    Some peole will not be satisfied until the UK is on its knees and begging for hand outs from Pakistan, India, China and Africa. Would this support come if we needed it ? I doubt it very much as we need it now.

    Destruction of the UK is almost complete. Why do you think Scotland, Ireland and Wales want out of the UK ? They can see the English rose wilting and consuming itself from within, while all our taxes go towards financially supporting over 90 different countries as the gov most proudly boasts.

    Wars in 4 different countries where most of our overseas spending (up tp £800 billion) and tax money goes - forget them we require our governments support at home - now.

  • Comment number 62.

    Power to Joshua Golblum for adding an air of reality to a lot of confused posts.
    I have kept my additional comment as concise as I can but details can be provided for the partially blinkered.

    The insane hypocrisy of the British government must be clear even within the compliant BBC. Palestinians are viewed as little more than vermin and are not worth saving. Yemenis’ and the people of Bahrain have obviously been given the same status.

    Carry on giving your money to the bankers and the industrial war machine. The cost of a hospital and school spent on Libya every day is a small price to pay for one of the most cost effective oil fields in the world.

  • Comment number 63.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 64.

    I have found the BBC as well as most of the MSM in the US extremely biased in the reporting of the invasion of Libya. It would almost seem as if these news providers are reading from scripts provided by their government administrations and NATO. Where are the reports of the civilians killed by NATO bombs? Where are the reports of the NATO/US bombs destroying Libyan schools, hospitals, residential communities and Libyan infrastructure? I am very disappointed in the BBC. I expected (stupidly, I guess) better.

  • Comment number 65.

    I keep feeling that there is something not being reported and that is the real division of ordinary people in Libya. The west prefers the version where they are all rebels apart from Gaddafi and his gang and this is 'allowed' to exist as truth without ever being challenged. Increasingly I suspect that more than a goodly proportion of Libyans either support Gaddafi or perhaps most of all really don't care and just want to get on with living life. The reporting always feels throttled by western myth rather than pursue middle easten truth.


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