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Acting UN Envoy: Misinformation & hate speech are deepening division in Libya

The Address | Benghazi – Libya

TRIPOLI – The Acting United Nations Envoy to Libya, Stephanie Williams, has warned misinformation and hate speech have contributed to “deepening pre-existing divides in Libya” and “further weakened an already fragile social fabric”.

In a statement released on Sunday to mark World Press Freedom Day, Williams called on “the Libyan authorities and all parties to the conflict to protect journalists and media workers, guarantee the right to freedom of opinion and expression, including the right to seek, receive, and impart information to the public.”

“Today is also an occasion to raise concerns about the dramatic increase, both online and offline, in misinformation, incitement to violence and hate speech – including threats against media workers – that has occurred over the past year,” she stated.

“This has fueled a climate of mistrust, fear and violence among different groups, contributed to deepening pre-existing divides in Libya and further weakened an already fragile social fabric. Journalists and media workers have the responsibility to uphold professional and ethical principles, including those of transparency and impartiality.”

“I want to renew my call on journalists and media workers to join forces in fighting misinformation, hate speech and incitement,” she added.

“UNSMIL condemns all attacks on journalists and calls for the perpetrators to be brought to justice,” Williams concluded.

Thirteen journalists were confirmed to have been killed in Libya since 2011.

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