Broadcasting from the Front Lines: Libya

As rebel forces made their long-awaited assault Tripoli in late August, US international broadcasters also moved in to provide viewers, listeners and Internet visitors eyewitness reporting on the fall of Libya’s longtime ruler, Muammar Qaddafi.

From the first protests in mid-February, Alhurra TV’s correspondents have been covering the news from the front lines, reporting from Libyan rebel strongholds such as Benghazi, Brega and now Tripoli. Alhurra has also provided extensive coverage of the challenges facing Libyans not involved in the fighting, such as the lack of healthcare services and fuel, and the plight of mothers searching for their missing sons.

VOA's Elizabeth Arrott and Japhet Weeks in TripoliAlhurra’s correspondents in Benghazi have interviewed key members of the Transitional National Council, including TNC head Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, about the future of Libya. In addition to footage collected by the network’s correspondents, Alhurra are incorporating citizen journalism into their newscasts, such as videos recorded and submitted by Libyans via mobile phone.

Radio Free Europe and Voice of America have also contributed reporting and penetrating analyses of the situation in Libya. On August 25, RFE writer-at-large James Kirchick joined VOA Cairo correspondent Elizabeth Arrott and Moscow correspondent James Brooke, a veteran Middle East hand from his many years at the New York Times, and crossed into Libya to cover the rebel advance into Tripoli. Kirchick described his experiences during the journey in articles published by “Foreign Policy” and “The Weekly Standard.” They have produced multiple scripted TV and radio packages each day as well as soundslides, photo galleries and Q&As, which are available at www.voanews.com and www.rferl.org respectively.

For the August 26 episode of its weekly Arabic-language talk show “Eye on Democracy,” Alhurra interviewed both local and U.S.-based Libya experts about the from the U.S. and the North African country to examine the next steps for Libya. One of the experts, human rights activist Fathi Tarbel, whose arrest sparked the February 16th protests in Benghazi, told Alhurra that there are daunting challenges to build a Libyan state and called for the release of frozen assets to the new Libyan government.

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