Target: Prime Minister Ali Zeidan
Goal: Revoke all laws that suppress free speech in Libya
Libya’s parliament recently passed a decree that banned satellite T.V. stations criticizing the government. Parliament also slashed scholarships for students abroad and cut bonuses to employees that took part in activities the government deemed hostile to the country’s revolution. Free speech shouldn’t be violated while the country is shifting to a new era. If the government feels threatened by ideas, then it should present new ones to challenge those, instead of robbing their citizens of their inherent rights.
The decree banning satellite T.V. stations passed in January 2014, which instructs stations to halt transmission of programs that were hostile to the revolution and whose “purpose is the destabilization of the country or creating divisions among Libyans.” It also instructs the government to punish those in states, territories, and businesses who do not comply with this new ruling.
The ruling is so broad that it censors a wide range of speech, including expression of peaceful dissent and even discussion of national politics. While Libya’s government could lawfully ban speech meant to instigate violence, it shouldn’t ban satellite T.V. stations. Many news stations in America host programs discussing and criticizing the government without inciting violence. Libya could operate the same way.
Punishing students and other government employees only cripples the nation, as students are the future of the country. Students need to discuss their nation’s politics and express their discontent if they feel something has gone wrong. These laws suppressing free speech need to be revoked so that Libya can develop into a tolerant nation.
Dear Prime Minister Ali Zeidan,
I am writing this letter to express my concern with your country’s recently passed decree that bans satellite stations who are critical of the government. As I understand it, the decree states that such stations are hostile towards the government and are trying to destabilize it. I find this highly preposterous, as many news stations across the globe criticize the government without the whole infrastructure collapsing.
I ask that you revoke these laws suppressing free speech, including slashing scholarships of students abroad and denying bonuses to those who express their discontent with the government. Free speech is an inherent right, one that shouldn’t be taken away from the government. Your nation has a history of suppressing free speech and no good has come from it. I urge you to return your citizens’ rights and allow them to demonstrate their ideals peacefully and without punishment.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: William Murphy via Wikimedia