Africa

Libyan authorities arrest news agency journalists

Images posted on the Libya Press news agency website
Image caption The Libya Press news agency is calling for the journalists' release

The Libyan authorities are reported to have arrested 19 journalists and a senior media executive.

The journalists work for the Libya Press news agency - an outlet affiliated with a son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi is a strong critic of the government, seen by some as a possible successor to his father.

Correspondents say the arrests may reflect a wider internal struggle between reformers and conservatives.

A statement on the Libya Press website says the journalists - who are of various nationalities, including Libyans, Egyptians and Tunisians - were arrested by the security forces in Tripoli during the past four days.

Also detained was the deputy head of the Al-Ghad media company - an entity which owns Libya Press and several other media outlets.

Image caption Saif al-Islam Gaddafi has been increasingly critical of the government

Libya Press says no reasons were given for the arrests, and has called on Muammar Gaddafi to intervene to secure their release.

Libyan officials have so far remained silent over the issue.

But the state-owned daily newspaper, Jamahiriya, said some of the detainees had already been interrogated and were expected to be released later on Monday.

Correspondents say Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the second of the Libyan leader's seven sons, is popular among Libyans pushing for reform.

He has become an increasingly vocal critic of the government, and newspapers and broadcasters under the Al-Ghad umbrella often reflect his calls for change.

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