Tripoli, 19 October:
Libya’s state-owned Wataniya TV has denied accusations that it suppressed a video film containing details of massive state embezzlement. . . .[restrict]The denial follows protests outside the Libyan Broadcasting Office on Tripoli’s Shara Al-Shatt on Thursday evening.
The video purportedly contains information about the channeling of over $90 billion of public funds during the Qaddafi years, and since, to bank accounts in Switzerland, the UK, Qatar and the UAE. It is said to include names of bankers involved in the transactions. It was reportedly going to be aired by the channel. However, this did not happen.
The demonstrators, estimated to number around 100 by local residents, called on the Attorney General to open a prompt and thorough investigation to discover who had prevented the screening of the video.
They also claimed that a number of individuals and groups had not only diverted Libyan public funds but had since tried to use them to undermine the revolution. They demanded the authorities not only find and retrieve the embezzled money but also look at the role of the media in obscuring what they said were the facts. They said the media were denying the public access to information of concern.
The figure of $90 billion is enormous but not when compared to $150 billion estimated to have been stolen by the Qaddafi family over the years.
In its statement issued Thursday night in response to the protest, Libya Al-Wataniya claimed it “had no hand” in preventing the video from being screened, and that it would be broadcast “without any censorship” on both the channel’s TV and radio stations.
It said it would always seek the truth and communicate it to the public, and that it would continue calling for freedom whatever the cost. [/restrict]