It is interesting to how little regard the Libyan authoritarians have for the international media, and more importantly its citizen.
Photo Credit: Boing-Boing
Last week Iman al-Obeidi (bottom right) showed up at a hotel filled with foreign correspondents to tell her story about being detained and raped at a military checkpoint in Libya. She wanted to get her voice heard -- around the world (NPR has the story). As she began to speak on camera, authorities rushed in covered her head and dragged her from the room. Iman al-Obeidi is a brave soul seeking justice through the media -- especially a media with an international presence. But what does this incident say about the international press and the authoritative regime of Libya?
What we are witnessing here are two very different models of what the press ought to be. We are also in the middle of a titanic culture clash.
In 1956 Siebert, Peterson and Schramm published their thesis the "Four Theories of the Press." The authors outline four theories in which to analyze and interpret the role of the press in society. From their perspective, these four theories include the authoritarian, libertarian, social responsibility, and a Soviet-Totalitarian models in which to provide a perspective and historical context for evaluating the role of media.
Photo Credit: AP/ Jerome Delay
What jumps out in Iman al-Obeidi case are the obvious tensions between an authoritarian system, such as the one in Libya, the way it regards its own far-from-free press, and an international media accustomed to the ideals of libertarianism and social responsibility. "The conditions journalists face in Libya, now in the throes of an international armed conflict, have been precarious at best," writes Joe Pompeo of YahooNews!
Since unrest in the country began, the Committee for the Protection of Journalists has reported the targeting of more than 60 journalists by Libya authorities. The detention of journalists working for news outlets such as the New York Times, the AP, AFP, Al-Jazeera, and other news organizations. The point Libya is making is clear -- we may not have "killed the international messenger" yet, but we want to make sure the world knows we are still in charge.
Journalists scramble for safety in Libya.
A picture still be worth a 1,000 words.