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Carola Richter

Published On


Page Range

pp. 249-266

Print Length

17 pages

15. Libya

From Jamahirization to Post-Revolutionary Chaos

Chapter of: Arab Media Systems(pp. 249–266)
“From house to house, from apartment to apartment, from alley to alley” he would “cleanse Libya of dirt and filth.” With this statement, Mu’ammar Al-Qadhafi threatened the rebels during the “Arab Spring” in a thunderous speech on February 22, 2011 on Libyan state television. As he had so often done, he tried to use “his” medium to explain, justify, and mobilize. The media – and television in particular – were understood by the self-proclaimed “Brother Leader” to be a direct channel to the masses since he had come to power in 1969.
William Rugh (1987) classified the Libyan media system as a mobilization system. Mobilization media intend to shake people up, at best educate them, and make them good citizens. In practice, however, this approach meant the dissemination of regime propaganda through media, which, in a simple sender–receiver model, were assumed to have immediate effects on the audience. This understanding of the media as instruments for the dissemination of ideology to a supposedly receptive audience is still prevalent in the Libyan media system today even after the fall of the Qadhafi regime.