Bombing and tank invasions by military forces began March 18 in Benghazi, the second largest city in Libya, even after Muammar Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi declared a cease-fire in the countrywide conflict. Mohammed Nabbous, one of the most prominent citizen journalists in Libya, was killed by gunfire on March 19 while reporting on those civilian attacks.
Nabbous provided exclusive, on-the-ground video coverage of developments in Benghazi since the Libyan uprisings began last month. After the “Day of Rage” on February 17, he founded Libya Alhurra TV, an independent webcast station that uses the Livestream platform to distribute independent video documentation. Using an illegal satellite connection, Libya Alhurra TV was the only broadcast coming out of Benghazi once Gaddafi shut down Internet lines.
Nabbous was killed while filming for Libya Alhurra TV. His final report is filled with the sound of bullets whizzing by, and the audio of his reporting stops abruptly with what sounds like a bullet hitting him. Some feel Nabbous’ death was not accidental, but that he was targeted by a sniper, as the fatal injury was to his head.
The frightening fact is that citizen reporters, like their professional journalistic counterparts, are now falling victim to targeting by the regimes about which they are writing as their truth manages to filter out from behind the silence of oppressed societies such as Libya, Yemen, and Bahrain. Professional reporters take the risk when they go into these war torn regions, and on average nearly a hundred die each year in the name of freedom of speech… Four New York Times reporters are yet in Gaddafi’s hands. And four Al Jazeera journalists were taken hostage by his thugs on Sunday. A BBC crew was detained earlier and beaten by his security forces, and a mock execution performed.
After learning of Nabbous’ death, Andy Carvin, senior strategist at National Public Radio (NPR), said via Twitter, “Nabbous was my primary contact in Libya, and the face of Libyan citizen journalism.” Ben Wedeman, CNN’s senior international correspondent based in Cairo, Egypt, tweeted, “Nabbous was one of the courageous voices from Benghazi broadcasting to the world from the beginning. Smart, selfless, brave.”
Nabbous, who was better known as “Mo” and was 28 at the time of his death, leaves behind a wife and an unborn baby. His wife, Perdita, said, “I need everyone to do as much as they can for this cause. They are still shooting. More people will die. Don’t let Mo’s death go in vain.”
Unrelated to Libya Alhurra TV or Nabbous, a documentary and new media company called Small World News is helping to train citizen journalists in Benghazi to capture video coverage of the uprising. The content will be posted on a site called Alive In Libya. The group has established similar sites in Egypt, Iraq, and Bahrain.
Of his travels in Benghazi, Small World News founder Brian Conley said, “It was totally safe. The biggest issue is that there is a lot of confusion about who can be approved press. People are scared when they see Libyans shooting video because there is a lot of paranoia related to the possibility of pro-Gaddafi loyalists and infiltrators.”
Source: “Citizen Journalist Falls in Line of Duty in Libya,” AllVoices, 03/20/11
Source: “Benghazi TV Reporter Mohammed Nabbous shot dead by Gaddafi forces,” Suite 101, 03/19/11
Source: “Mohammad Nabbous, face of citizen journalism in Libya, is killed,” The Guardian‘s News Blog, 03/19/11
Source: “Mobile Citizen Journalists Determined to Stay ‘Alive in Libya'” MediaShift Idea Lab, 03/18/11
Image by Sarurah on WikiPedia, used under its Creative Commons license.