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Focus On Libya

VitalStatistics

Population: 5,613,380
Monetary unit: Libyan dinar
Capital city: Tripoli
Major languages: Arabic (official), Italian, English (all widely understood in the major cities); Berber (Nafusi, Ghadamis, Suknah, Awjilah, Tamasheq)
Major religions: Sunni Muslim (official) 97%, other 3%
Ethnic composition: Berber and Arab 97%, other 3% (includes Greeks, Maltese, Italians, Egyptians, Pakistanis, Turks, Indians, and Tunisians)
Age breakdown: 0-14 years: 32.6%, 15-64 years: 62.8%, 65 years and over: 4.6%
Life expectancy: male: 75.5 years, female: 80.27 years
Education: N/A
Urban/Rural split: urban 78%, rural 22%
Income per household (USD): -
Broadband internet users (%): -

Source: Encyclopedia Britannica

Introduction

Back in August 2011, while the battle for Benghazi raged, as international will mounted to support the Libyan rebels, and as hundreds of Libyans lay dying or injured in hospitals, Muammar Gaddafi found time to send e-mails to several of London and New York's top PR agencies. Remarkably, he was looking to hire an agency that would issue daily press briefings on his 'moral' and 'legal' claims to power. 

There is no evidence that any agency took on the brief - FD managing director Jonathan Hawker described it as 'possibly the most unattractive request for business ever' - and on 20th October of that year the 42-year regime fell, with Gaddafi himself brutally killed by resistance fighters in images that were shown around the world. 

Since then, Libya has been trying to rebuild itself. The IMF has estimated that the 2011 civil war cut GDP by 61% but that it will rebound by 76% in 2012. There is certainly potential in the country. It has the largest proven oil reserves of any country in Africa, as well as a young population – 79% of 

Libyans are 34 or younger – that is eager to embrace its newfound freedom and opportunity.

So, it is surely only a matter of time before multinationals start investing, indigenous firms start growing, and a PR industry begins to emerge. Yet for now the situation remains too unstable. The murder in September 2012 of US ambassador, Chris Stevens, and three further US embassy staff, starkly highlighted the risks involved in operating in this country. 

As one business consultant who has offices in Tripoli puts it: “There were no serious PR firms before the revolution, and none since due to the slow political process which has killed the business environment. People are sitting and waiting for things to change. Over the next three to five years the media will open up and become more diverse, and more international businesses with an understanding and appreciation of PR will enter the market, but for now there is very little to say about PR in Libya.”

Media

There is though much to say about Libyan media. Closely controlled for more than four decades, but since 2011 the Libyan media has grown exponentially. It is a relatively easy process to register and establish a media outlet in the country and those on the ground report that there appears to be little regulation. 

There are currently over 150 newspapers and five magazines, including Feb 17th, Libya Alyaom and Al-Kalima There are two particularly remarkable 



facts about Libyan newspapers: almost without exception they are all in Arabic and they were all founded in 2011.

There are 12 TV channels in Libya including Libya TV, Libya One and Libya Awalan. There is a very low penetration of international media in the country, with no distribution of international publications at all. However the Arabic BBC World Service is well respected, as is Al Jazeera TV.  There has been a real blossoming of local radio stations, many being music only. 

 

Major Brands

According to Libya's General Information Authority, in 2010 46% of the investment in Libyan media came from the food sector, 21% from communications, 16% from cosmetics, 8% from electronics, and 7% from household goods. 

Since the revolution much of the growth in GDP has come from infrastructure companies that are using international investment and aid to rebuild 

the country. At the forefront of this has been the Libyan Cement Company (LCC). 

The LCC recently received investment from Austrian company Asamer, and it has hired Action PR to deliver an ongoing campaign of media relations including monitoring and reporting on coverage, event management and discreet political networking. 




Agencies

To date there is only one PR agency in Libya. In March 2012 Action PR launched Action Libya in central Tripoli. Led by Radwan Gariani, Country Manager, it now has a team of three including former journalists and communications professionals who have worked in the UK and USA. 



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