- Human Rights Watch has urged the Libyan authorities to stop blocking the internet sites. The country has blocked access to YouTube and at least seven independent websites claiming it was a disturbing step away from press freedom.
“These websites were the one recent sign of tangible progress in freedom of expression in Libya,” HRW said on a statement released late on Wednesday.
The rights watchdog said Libya had also blocked the entire YouTube website after it featured videos of demonstrations in the eastern city of Benghazi by families of detainees who were killed in Abu Salim prison in 1996, as well as videos of family members of Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi at parties.
The organisation has also hailed an initiative by a group of Libyan bloggers, journalists, and human rights activists to share proxy servers to allow access to the blocked sites.
“Libya can stick its head in the sand and try to block the free flow of electronic information to its citizens, but the good news is we all know they'll fail,” Middle East director Sarah Leah Whitson said.
The rights organisation further criticised Libya over a decision by the state General Press Authority last month to suspend the print-runs of the country's only two private newspapers Oea and Quryna, which as a result now appear only online.
The group said blocking websites was contrary to international agreements Libya had signed.
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