Senior Libyan officials have told U.S. diplomats that reporters who enter the country illegally to report on the violent protests are being considered al-Qaida collaborators and risk immediate arrest and immigration charges, the State Department said this morning.
According to the U.S. diplomats, the same officials said that they had only approved reporters from CNN, BBC Arabic, and Al Arabiya and urged other foreign reporters to affiliate themselves with those approved news teams.
“Be advised, entering Libya to report on the events unfolding there is additionally hazardous with the government labeling unauthorized media as terrorist collaborators and claiming they will be arrested if caught,” said a press release from the State Department.
Foreign journalists have been on risky territory in the Middle East recently, and have been slow to move into Libya to report on the protests. In Egypt, pro-Mubarak crowds detained and beat several reporters who arrived to report on that uprising. CBS’s Lara Logan reportedly sustained a brutal sexual assault there, as well.