It has been a while since I’ve written about radio in Libya. The popular revolt in that country started back in February, and there were reports that opposition protestors were taking over radio stations in regions where the central government was losing control. Some four months later the uprisings and struggle against Muammar Qaddafi are still going on, as Qaddafi shows no sign of giving up power and rebels continue their fight.
A recent article published by the African telecoms website Balancing Act, sourced from the Inter Press Service, reports that the city of Misurata is being served by rebel broadcasters. Radio Free Libya Misurata has been on the air since Feb. 21, featuring “news on the latest frontline fighting, interviews with rebel council members, and the availability of food, water and other city logistics.”
Station founder Ahmed Hadia says, “Who controls the media, controls the country. If the radio waves had gone silent [when Gaddafi was pushed out of Misurata], it would have given the impression that there was no control.”
The station itself was targeted by Libyan government airstrikes before the NATO no-fly zone was implemented, and has also been targeted by government loyalists. Still, the station now broadcasts on both the AM and FM dial, and reportedly can be heard as far away as in Europe.
At the end of last month the Guardian reported that the English-language Tribute FM was still on the air in Benghazi, which is governed by a transitional council, not the central government. The station’s website gives every indication that it is still on the air.