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IFJ slams NATO bombing of Libyan TV

Wednesday 03 Aug 2011

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) sharply criticised NATO air strikes against Libyan Television, which killed three people and injured 15.

The IFJ said the bombing on Saturday was in contravention of a United Nations Security Council resolution passed in December 2006 that explicitly condemned such attacks against journalists and media.

“We utterly condemn this action, which targeted journalists and threatened their lives, in violation of international law,” Brussels-based IFJ secretary-general Beth Costa said.

Libyan officials said the airstrikes early on Saturday killed three journalists and injured 15 other people.

NATO said the bombing of the Libyan TV’s satellite dishes was in compliance with the UN mandate authorising the strikes to protect the civilian population.

NATO spokeswoman Carmen Romero there was evidence the state TV was increasingly being used by Muammar Qaddafi’s regime to incite violence against the civilian population.

Ms Costa dismissed that explanation, saying the use of violence to stifle dissident media spelledcatastrophe for press freedom.

“Our concern is that when one side decides to take out a media organisation because they regard its message as propaganda, then all media are at risk,” Ms Costa said. “In conflict situations, international law is clear that unarmed journalists cannot be treated as combatants, irrespective of their political affiliations.”

Ms Costa urged the alliance to refrain from further attacks on media.