The Libyan Dilemma

By Chris Creegan

Why citizen video journalism will play a far greater role in Libya than in Egypt

Citizen video journalism has been useful in providing us with information during the recent uprisings in the Middle East. With Egypt in particular, it has supplemented the reports of mainstream news media organisations around the world.

Now, however, attention has shifted to the protests in Libya. This African nation is very different from neighbouring Egypt, and it poses far greater challenges when it comes to reporting.

Crucially, Egypt allowed Western journalists significant access to the country. Even those that reported from the safety of their hotel balconies were able to cover the uprising with a degree of detail.

Libya, on the other hand, does not permit foreign journalists within its borders. It also appears to be clamping down on citizens who attempt to relay information with greater force than we saw in Egypt.

Added to this, the country’s internet has effectively been shut down. Libya is truly cut off from the rest of the world.

News organisations have therefore had to rely solely on the eyewitness accounts of a small number of Libyan citizens for information. ‘Unconfirmed reports’ and inflated death tolls have become an inevitability.

The lack of reliable, newsworthy information coming from the ground in Libya means that citizen video journalism is more important than ever before.

Whilst anti-Kaddafi protesters may report distorted numbers of those who have died, there is at least an assurance of accuracy with the old adage “the camera doesn’t lie.”

Footage shot by Libyan citizens on camera phones has been making its way onto the internet over the past few days, despite the attempts of Colonel Kaddafi’s regime to limit communication with the outside world.

This footage, secured by ITN, appears to show members of Libya’s security forces opening fire on crowds of protesters.

Whilst the reporter points out that it cannot be independently verified, the amateur video provides some of the best (and only) picture evidence of what is happening in the country.

As the situation develops, footage like this will continue to play a vital role in telling us the story of Libya.

Without it, we are completely in the dark as to what is happening in the country.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s