The Cable

Libyan government: Reporters will be treated as al Qaeda collaborators

The Libyan government officially warned the State Department on Thursday that foreign journalists entering Libya would be arrested and treated as al Qaeda collaborators.

"Be advised, entering Libya to report on the events unfolding there is additionally hazardous with the government labeling unauthorized media as terrorist collaborators and claiming they will be arrested if caught," the State Department said in a press release.

The State Department said that Libyan government officials told U.S. diplomats that approved teams of reporters from CNN, BBC Arabic, and Al Arabiya would be allowed into the country, but any other reporters found in Libya would be in danger.

"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," the State Department said.

It was not immediately clear which Libyan government officials issued the warning, but the State Department said it was a "senior official" of the Libyan government. Reporters would be arrested on "immigration charges" and their safety could not be guaranteed, the U.S. diplomats were told.



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