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The History of Television in Libya

After Libya's independence from Italy in 1951, the country's television history began in the 1960s. Italian technicians assisted in the 1968 launch of Libya's first television station, the Libyan Television Service.

The Libyan Television Service was initially restricted to Tripoli, the nation's capital. Nevertheless, it soon widened its coverage to incorporate other major cities like Misrata and Benghazi. Just like many other countries in the region, the television station was a vehicle for propaganda and the Libyan government's propagation of the regime's ideology. The station censored dissenting voices and broadcasted programs celebrating the regime's achievements.


The Libyan government established the Jamahiriya Broadcasting Corporation (JBC), which replaced the Libyan Television Service in the 1980s. All radio and television stations in Libya were under the control of JBC, which was designated as the only official broadcaster in the country.


With most of its programming centered on the ideology of the ruling regime, JBC continued to advance the government's interests. However, the station eventually started to air more entertaining and educational programs in the 1990s.


During the Libyan civil war, the government lost control of most of the nation, including the television stations, in 2011. The Libyan National Television (LNTV) was established as a new national broadcasting corporation by the National Transitional Council (NTC), which assumed government control.


LNTV was tasked with advocating for democracy and free speech and giving the Libyan people objective news and unbiased information. News, current affairs, entertainment, and educational shows were just some new shows the station debuted. However, the station encountered difficulties, including financial and technical ones.


The Libyan Television Channel, which the Libyan government established in 2013, took over as the country's official broadcasting organization from LNTV.


The Golden Age of Libyan Television:

The 1970s, when Libyan Television Service, the nation's first television station, was founded, are known as the "Golden Years" of Libyan television. Libyan television developed significantly during this time by introducing new shows and services.


Libya experienced political stability and economic expansion during the 1970s, which allowed the government to make macro investments in the growth of the country's broadcasting sector. The Libyan Television Service increased its broadcast area to include other cities nationwide and launched several shows, including news, sports, and entertainment. 


Popular TV Shows:

Popular TV Shows: Here are a few of the most well-liked programs from the era: 


Ala Al-Hawa (On the Wind): A drama series that examines the relationships, aspirations, and daily lives of young people in Libya. The show was well-liked for its believable characters and stimulating plot. 


Shara Al-Wadi (The Valley Street): Popular drama series Shara Al-Wadi tells the tale of a young girl who relocates to the city to pursue her dreams. The program received praise for accurately portraying everyday life in urban Libya. 


Al-Rihla (The Journey): Al-Rihla was a travel show that explored Libya's history, culture, and natural beauty by taking viewers on a journey through various country regions. The program's stunning visuals and educational content made it popular. 


Sah Al-Noum (Wake Up Call): A talk show that covered a range of topics, including politics, culture, and social issues. The program was renowned for its interesting guests and lively debates. 


Al-Kitab Wal-Qalam (The Book and the Pen): A literary program called Al-Kitab Wal-Qalam featured interviews with authors and poets from Libya and other Arab nations. The program was well-liked for its emphasis on literature and philosophical debate.


Arabian Nights: A program that featured classical and popular music from various Arab nations and traditional Arab music. The show was well-liked for its extensive and interesting musical selection. 


Music Hour: Western classical music was featured on the program "Music Hour," which included compositions by Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven. The event was widely liked by music fans and was viewed as a venue for fostering cultural exchange between Libya and the West. 


The Music of the Masters: It was a program highlighting the compositions of classical music greats from both the Arab and Western worlds. The program was well-liked for its educational content and was regarded as an essential learning tool for music enthusiasts and students.


Revolutionary TV Shows:

Several revolutionary television programs have significantly influenced Libya's cultural landscape by setting new standards for Libyan tv with their subject matter, structure, and production quality. Here are a few of the period's most acclaimed and innovative shows: 


Al Masrah (The Theater): A drama series called Al Masrah was shot in an actual theater instead of a soundstage. The program was renowned for its high production values and its creative use of lighting, sound, and camera angles.


Sawt Al Ahrar (The Voice of the Free): Political talk show Sawt Al Ahrar addressed social issues and public policy. The program was renowned for critically examining governmental initiatives and offering a forum for open discourse. 


Al-Fursan (The Knights): The history of Libya and the Arab world were explored in the historical drama series Al-Fursan. The show received compliments for its high production values and attention to historical detail. 


Khutwa (Footsteps): Children's program Khutwa promoted creativity, general knowledge, and education through exciting and entertaining activities. Both kids and parents enjoyed the show, which was an excellent public educational tool. 


The Libyan Woman: A talk show centered on the lives and experiences of Libyan women is called The Libyan Woman. Positive portrayals of women in Libyan society and frank and open discussions of women's issues were praised for the program. 


These programs improved Libyan television's standard of excellence and established a new bar for creative and interesting programming. They contributed to the country's cultural landscape during a time of significant growth and development by reflecting the cultural values and aspirations of the Libyan people.


Rise of Private Television Channels:

After the Gaddafi regime was toppled, Libyan private TV channels started to appear in the late 2000s and early 2010s. These channels gave television programming a new level of freedom and diversity by providing a platform for various voices and viewpoints. Here are a few of Libya's most well-known private TV networks: 


Al Ahrar TV: Founded in 2011, Al Ahrar TV is a satellite television network—one of the first private channels to debut in Libya following the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi. The program is known for critically examining governmental policies and focuses on news, politics, and current affairs. 


Al Nabaa TV: Another 2011-founded satellite broadcaster is Al Nabaa TV. It covers both entertainment programming and news and current events. It is renowned for its unbiased reporting and sensitive subject coverage.


Al Wassat TV: Founded in 2012, Al Wassat TV is a satellite television network. The channel features cultural and entertainment programming in addition to news, politics, and current affairs. It is renowned for its impartial reporting and dedication to journalistic ethics. 


Libya TV: Founded in 2011, Libya TV is a terrestrial television network. The channel features entertainment programming, news, politics, and current affairs. It is renowned for the way it covers regional news and events. 


Alahrar Channel: A 2017 satellite-launched channel. The channel features cultural and entertainment programming and news and current affairs coverage. It is renowned for its attention to human rights issues and reporting on underrepresented groups. 


Another terrestrial channel launched in 2015 is called Libya 218. The channel features entertainment programming, news, politics, and current affairs. It is renowned for emphasizing neighborhood news and events and advancing social and political change. 


The success of Semi-Private Channels:

In recent years, Libya has seen the emergence of semi-private TV channels that operate under the auspices of state-owned media companies. Although the government provides some funding for these channels, it does not have the same direct control over them as it does over state-owned media. Here is a list of Libya's most well-known semi-private TV networks: 


Al Wataniya: Libya's State-owned television network Al Wataniya was established in 1976. In recent years, it has evolved into a semi-private channel with more editorial freedom and a focus on diverse programming. The channel features entertainment programming, news, politics, and current affairs. 


Alrasmeya TV: Launched in 2012, Alrasmeya TV is a news and current affairs channel that airs military-related programming. The Libyan military owns it. 


Libya Al Ahrar 2: This channel, which was established in 2016 and is run by the Libya Al Ahrar Media Foundation, broadcasts news, current events, as well as cultural and entertainment content. 


Al-Asimah TV: A news and current affairs channel launched in 2012 and owned by the Municipality of Tripoli. It also features local cultural and entertainment content. 


Al-Mostakbal TV: 2014 saw the launch of the semi-private channel Al-Mostakbal TV. It includes programming for culture and entertainment, news, politics, and current affairs. A group of politicians and businesspeople from Libya own the channel.


While still retaining some governmental involvement and oversight, these semi-private TV channels have given Libyan media a platform for various voices and viewpoints.


Rise of Cable and Dish TV Channels:

The emergence of satellite and cable TV in Libya has transformed the media environment and given viewers access to various regional and international programming. Here are a few of Libya's most well-known satellite and cable TV networks: 


Al Jazeera: Founded in 1996, the satellite TV network Al Jazeera is based in Qatar. With coverage of international news and current affairs, it is one of the most popular news channels in the Arab world as well as beyond it. 


BBC Arabic: BBC Arabic is a satellite television channel the British Broadcasting Corporation runs. It covers news and events both in the Arab world and elsewhere. 


Arabic, French, and English news programming is available on the French news channel France 24. It covers news and events in France, Europe, and the rest of the world. 


TRT Arabic is an Arabic-language news channel that broadcasts from Turkey. It includes news and current events from Turkey, the Middle East, and other parts of the world. 


Libya Alhadath: Covers news, politics, and current events and offers entertainment and cultural programming. It is renowned for its impartial reporting and delicate subject matter coverage. 


Alkounouz: Covers local news and events and programming for culture and entertainment. 


News, politics, current affairs, and programming for culture and entertainment are all covered by Libya al-Ahrar. 


Al Nabaa: The network broadcasts entertainment shows, news, and current events. 


Al Hiwar is a satellite TV network based in London, United Kingdom. It is renowned for strongly emphasizing political and social issues and covers news and current affairs from the Arab world and the rest of the world.


Rise of Regional and Local Language Channels:

The emergence of regional and local language TV channels has significantly changed Libya's media environment, allowing for more locally focused programming and a more comprehensive range of viewpoints to be represented. Here are a few of Libya's most well-known regional and local language TV networks:


Fezzan TV: The station is located in southern Libya. It features Arabic programming on news, current events, and culture. 


Barqa TV: Located in eastern Libya, the channel broadcasts news, current events, and cultural content in Arabic. 


Al Khadra TV: Located in the western part of Libya, it offers Arabic-language news, current affairs, and cultural programming. 


Al Tobacts TV: Located in the eastern Libyan city of Tobruk, Al Tobacts TV is a regional television network. It features Arabic programming on news, current events, and culture.


Sabha TV: Another regional TV station based in the southern Libyan city of Sabha is Sabha TV. It features Arabic programming on news, current events, and culture. 


Benghazi TV: It is a regional network located in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi. It features Arabic programming on news, current events, and culture.


Zintan TV: Another regional TV station is Zintan TV, based in the western Libyan city of Zintan. 


Nalut TV: Local TV station based in the western Libyan city of Nalut, Nalut TV. It features Arabic programming on news, current events, and culture. These regional and local TV networks have given different voices and viewpoints a platform in Libyan media while promoting a sense of place and community.


Regulatory Authority:

The General Authority for Information and Communication licenses media outlets and ensures they follow media laws and regulations. It also monitors television and radio content and removes any that violates media laws or is inappropriate for public consumption. The authority can fine, suspend, or close media outlets that violate media laws and regulations. It also ensures Libyan media outlets follow media ethics and professional standards.


The General Authority for Information and Communication and the National Authority for Media oversee Libya's state-run media outlets, such as the Libyan Broadcasting Corporation. These regulatory bodies ensure Libya's media landscape is diverse, responsible, ethical, and professional. Libyans still watch the Libyan Television Channel for news and entertainment. However, funding and government independence remain as major issues.

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