Libya: From Jamahirization to Post-Revolutionary Chaos

Book Spine: Arab Media Systems

Global Communications

Published: 2021
Arab Media Systems;Cambridge, UK: Open Book Publishers


“From house to house, from apartment to apartment, from alley to  alley”,  he  would  “cleanse  Libya  of  dirt  and  filth.”  With  this  statement, Mu’ammar  Al-Qadhafi  threatened  rebels  during  the  Arab uprisings in a thunderous speech delivered on 22 February 2011  on  Libyan  state  television.  As  he  had  so  often  done,  he  tried  to  use  ‘his’  medium  to  explain,  justify,  and  mobilize.  The  media—and television,  in  particular—were  understood  by  the  self-proclaimed  “Brother  Leader”  to  be  a  direct  channel  to  the  masses since he had come to power in 1969. William Rugh  (1987)  classified  the  Libyan  media  system  as  a  mobilization  system.  Mobilization  media  intend  to  shake  people up, make them good citizens, and, at best, educate them. In   practice,   however,   this   approach   involved   disseminating   regime  propaganda  through  media,  which,  in  a  simple  sender-receiver  model,  the  regime  assumed  to  have  immediate  effects  on the audience. This conception of the media as instruments for disseminating ideology to a supposedly receptive audience is still prevalent in the Libyan media system today even after the fall of the Qadhafi regime.