Libya: Freedom of Expression in Law and Practice

This report by Thomas Ebbs, Director of Research with Lawyers for Justice in Libya, is analyzing the tensions between laws pertaining to freedom of expression, political actors and the judiciary practice in Libya.

Following the 2011 uprisings, new constitutional and legal guarantees for freedom of expression and media freedoms were introduced in Maghreb countries. Yet, the rights and freedoms the new laws affirm remain challenged by the hostility of duty-bearers and a hardly reformed judiciary practice. Moreover, those rights and their advocates are increasingly misrepresented as threats to stability and security in the MENA region and globally.

This study introduces both the legal framework and the tension points, and it formulates key recommendations to address the deficiencies in law or practice. These recommendations are a means by which non-governmental organisations and rights defenders can pursue their critical advocacy work.

This publication is the result of a partnership between the Tunisian association Vigilance for Democracy and the Civic State, also known in Arabic as Yakadha, and International Media Support (IMS). It falls under the MENA Media Law Reform initiative (, which functions as a central forum, bringing together legal experts, civil society organisations and other stakeholders to address and advocate for much needed legal and regulatory reforms of the media.