Saturday, May 14, 2011

Britain offers broadcasting support to Libyan rebels

In talks yesterday with Libyan rebel leader Mustafa Abdul Jalil, British Prime Minister David Cameron invited the rebels to open an office in London, their first in a foreign country. Among the subjects discussed, it was agreed that Britain will help the rebels set up what is variously described in different press reports as an ‘independent radio station,’ a ‘public radio station’ and an ‘independent broadcasting service’.

Details of what exactly was proposed are sketchy. The official statement merely says “We will also provide new support to improve the National Transitional Council’s public broadcasting capacities.” This could mean a lot of things, and I suspect that at this stage nothing definite has been agreed. It could cover technical as well as editorial and adminstrative support.

Bearing in mind that the rebels are already running their own radio and TV stations, it is to be hoped that the British have offered professional help in running the existing stations rather than setting up something entirely new. Mistakes were made in Afghanistan and Iraq where too many stations were set up from scratch by well-meaning parties, and they ended up competing with each other.
(Source: various press reports/official statement/R Netherlands Media Network Weblog)