Ten media creators from different Libyan cities took part in a six day study visit to Berlin as part of the film and radio competition organised by DRI Libya. From 3 to 8 December, participants were able to exchange on the role of arts, media and culture in shaping political dynamics and embedding democratic discourses from the Libyan and German perspectives.
In a meeting with the vice president of German parliament, Claudia Roth, the participants engaged in a discussion on the importance of arts and culture in ending violence and helping reconciliation processes. Moreover, the meeting was marked by an exchange of expectations on the role of Germany in Libya. In this context, Ms. Roth highlighted Germany as a trustworthy and honest broker in supporting the transition in Libya. Participants also discussed the prioritization of Libya’s transformation over lunch with representatives from the German Foreign Office and learned more about the Berlin negotiation process.
“It was inspiring to meet a German female politician. I believe it is important to encourage Libyan women to take part at decision-making processes in politics because democracy and politics are not scary” Hind Saki, Programme Coordinator for Peace Circles’ Eastern Region Project
The participants had the opportunity to learn about the work of some German institutions in Libya. The Konrad Adenauer foundation presented their work in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as their support for civil society, notably in Libya. The participants showed interest in the influence German foundations can have in lobbying government policies on Libya and stressed the importance of supporting local initiatives, as well as working with women and youth in peace-building processes.
Media in Cooperation and Transition (MiCT) and the Candid Foundation, both media focused organisations, also received the participants during the study visit. MiCT shared the findings of their media mapping in Libya and shed light on the crucial role of independent community-based radio stations in mitigating conflicts. The results show that TV-stations are more likely to be linked to major conflict parties, whereas local radio stations that exist in a large number all over the country tend to be non-political, focusing mainly on entertainment, culture and social issues. The Candid Foundation presented Zenith, a magazine focusing on the Middle East and North Africa, and how the participants could benefit from their work in Libya, particularly the training programmes for media creators. Participants visited Deutsche Welle and Deutschland Radio and discussed, among others, the technicalities of media creation. On the evening of 6 December, together with Dox Box, an organisation that supports Arab filmmakers, the Libyan media creators featured and discussed their short films in presence of Berlin-based Arab film directors.
Mohsen Abo Azza, the founder and chairperson of the Libyan Organization for Transitional Justice and winner of the second prize of the narrative section of the film competition, highlighted the importance of using the “the takeaways from this study visit to create more contents to raise awareness about human rights and participation in Libya” – especially in the new transition phase.
The study visit was a platform for exchange through which participants acquired more knowledge about the German context and Germany’s role in Libya, and at the same time shared their own perspectives on the Libya they want to build and made their voices heard.
This activity is part the project “strengthening Libyan civil society engagement on the constitution and political transition” supported by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs.