Thursday, February 24, 2011

Libyan government warns foreign journalists entering country that they will be treated as Al Qaeda collaborators

The Libyan government is not only at war with its own people, but apparently wants to go after foreign journalists trying to enter the country, as well. Today the US State Department posted a warning on its website following a meeting with Libyan officials.

Here is the statement in full:

Notice to the Press
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
February 24, 2011

In meetings with senior Libyan Government officials, U.S. diplomats were told that some members of CNN, BBC Arabic and Al Arabiya would be allowed into the country to report on the current situation. These same senior officials also said that some reporters had entered the country illegally and that the Libyan Government now considered these reporters Al Qaida collaborators.

The Libyan Government said that it was not responsible for the safety of these journalists, who risked immediate arrest on the full range of possible immigration charges. Foreign journalists already in Libya who are not part of the approved teams were urged to immediately join the approved teams in-country.

Be advised, entering Libya to report on the events unfolding there is additionally hazardous with the government labeling unauthorized media as terrorist collaborators and claiming they will be arrested if caught.