The Libyan government has warned that it will consider the journalists who have entered in the country illegally as “al-Qaeda collaborators” and will arrest them, the U.S .State Department said on Thursday.
“In meetings with senior Libyan government officials, U.S. diplomats were told that some members of CNN, BBC Arabic and al Arabiya would be allowed into the country to report on the current situation,” the Department said in a statement.
The embattled Libyan administration has also told American officials it was not responsible for the safety of these journalists, who risked immediate arrest on the full range of possible immigration charges, the statement said.
The State Department urged foreign journalists already in Libya who are not part of the approved teams to immediately join the approved teams in that country.
“These same senior officials also said that some reporters had entered the country illegally and that the Libyan government now considered these reporters Al Qaida collaborators,” according to the statement.
“Foreign journalists already in Libya who are not part of the approved teams were urged to immediately join the approved teams in that country,” the State Department said.
“Be advised, entering Libya to report on the events unfolding there is additionally hazardous with the government labelling unauthorised media as terrorist collaborators and claiming they will be arrested if caught,” it said.
Following the ouster of leaders in Tunisia and Egypt, large-scale anti-government protests have erupted in several Middle East and North African countries including Libya.
Libya, however, has responded with an extreme show of force resulting in the death of 300 lives so far.
Keywords: Libya unrest