Radio flourishing in post-Gadhafi Libya

The Takeaway

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Since February of this year, there has been a real explosion in the number and the variety of Libyan radio stations inside Libya, according to the BBC’s monitoring service. Radio Libya, for example, now broadcasts on what was formerly a Libyan state run channel.

The station features shows that try to give Libyans a free forum to discuss issues of the day. People phone in with problems like shortages of water and food, or ideas that they have for what they envision life to be in a free Libya.

The tracks used on the stations tell their own story, the BBC reports. Some days, stations will play celebratory, Western songs, if the mood is good. If the mood is downbeat, on a particularly violent day, for example, stations may choose to play more somber songs.

Libya’s new radio stations seem more relaxed and free flowing and a bit less formal, according to the BBC. Some feature poetry, comedy shows, and other, informal pieces. The whole thing flows surprisingly smoothly, considering the fact that it’s run mostly by young volunteers.

Often the radio stations will play a very functional role in getting messages out to people. Stations have been used to put out messages asking people not to loot. They’ve put out messages telling people how to treat captured Qaddafi soldiers. They’ve been used to dispel rumors, for example about poison in water wells and other public service announcements.

The content on the new radio stations has so far reflected the ongoing aspect of the revolution, holding off on criticizing too heavily the transitional government. Instead, they’ve been concentrating on messages of unity and emphasizing the fact that divisions now — and too much criticism — could ultimately harm the cause.

Post-revolution that could well change. The stations could feel that the time is right to start criticizing aspects the new government and the new administration.


“The Takeaway” is a national morning news program, delivering the news and analysis you need to catch up, start your day, and prepare for what’s ahead. The show is a co-production of WNYC and PRI, in editorial collaboration with the BBC, The New York Times Radio, and WGBH.

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