The Principles

Participants at the Media Vision for Libya: A ‘Good Offices’ Conference, sponsored by Northwestern University in Qatar and the National Transitional Council, suggest these principles to guide the transitional period and inform future decisions about media policy for Libya:


Libya should have a free, open, and independent media and communications system.

This principle would move Libya away from its state-owned media and empower independent media, even though the new de facto government could be tempted to maintain total media control. This was a problem that took years to resolve in other countries in transition between autocratic control and freedom.


Private media should be permitted and encouraged.

A revolutionary result given some sentiments at the outset of the conference. Some wanted quasi-government trust arrangements or only public service media; some preferred that the new state hold on to key media holdings.


The state regulator should become an independent regulator to direct technical, structural, and spectrum regulation, as well as to promote development of broadcasting and telecommunication services.

Will prevent chaos in the present system and assign the independent regulatory authority for technical matters, which are essential to any telecommunication system. And importantly, the regulator would no longer deal with content.


Control of content should be limited. Any limitations should be enacted by the parliament and adjudicated by an independent judiciary.

Means an acceptance of the principle of no prior restraint, opting for a system of media laws much like those of other countries for post hoc review of libel and other concerns.


State media should be transformed into independent media operated as a public service trust and/or privatized.

This principle calls for a limited role for a state broadcaster, likely one or two stations and operated as a public service trust a la the BBC or privatized. A very important recommendation by this group, achieved after hours of debate and understandings of the role and scope of state media for which this group is now responsible.


There should be a robust system for media literacy and journalism education and training.

Recognizes that media literacy is vital to the functioning of democratic media, a principle virtually nonexistent in the rest of the world, and that journalism education and trading should be inventoried and developed on a systematic model.