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Univ. of San Diego School of Law

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

CrimProf Faiza al-Basha Comments on LIbyan Laws

From dailystar.com: Al-Fatah University CrimProf Faiza al-Basha recently wrote a commentary questioning Libyan laws.  Here is an excerpt:

Libya's basic legal documents affirm the right of every individual to freedom of thought, innovation and creativity, and aim to support the flourishing of science and the spread of arts and literature among the masses, not only the elite. Articles 19-26 of the 1988 Green Charter for Human Rights and Law 20 of 1991 on Enhancing Freedom enshrine these rights. Other laws, however, sometimes contradict such principles.

Press Law 76 of 1972, for example, states that the press is free and that every person has the right to express his or her view freely and to broadcast opinions and news by various means. The law also stipulates, however, that such expression must not "contradict the values and goals of society," a vague formulation open to interpretation.

Article 21 of the law bans prepublication censorship of printed materials, including newspapers, although this is contradicted by the practices of the Department of Publications, which imposes restrictions on all that is published. Works by authors and intellectuals, for example, may not be printed or distributed without the department's permission.

Article 4 of the law gives the private sector the right to own printing houses and publish materials. In practice, this right is legally restricted to specific designated agencies that are granted the right to express the opinions of their members. The result is that only state-issued newspapers and publications praising the government are printed. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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