We have written about the U.S. government’s training of journalists in countries previously. In September 2010, the U.S. government sent University of North Texas interim dean Mitchell Land to Liberia to help train journalists there. U.S. State Department’s African Affairs bureau director Bill Strassberger told us that it is “a regular practice” for the U.S. to “provide such training.”
In November 2010, U.S. Ambassador to Liberia Linda Thomas Greenfield announced an $11 million U.S. AID funded program, part of which would go to a media program that would “build capacity and professionalize both individual journalists as well as media outlets through training and grants,” according to USAID’s Annette Aulton.
And now it appears the U.S. is also facilitating the training of journalists in Libya.
The Atlantic’s Graeme Wood reported that he helped “train Libyan journalists” last October “at the request of the U.S. Agency for International Development.” He explained:
“As part of its effort to build up post-revolutionary civil society, USAID had offered to help nurture a network of journalists known as Independent Libyan Media (or ILM, Arabic for ‘knowledge’).”
According to Wood, he hosted a seminar for “about 50 journalists” who were all “under 30.” The journalists “knew nothing of standards, libel, or ethics—except that such concepts existed, and that eventually they needed to learn about them.” Wood added that all of the students were “immensely eager” to be trained. Read Wood’s full essay here about training journalists in Libya.
According to a January 2012 press release from USAID, it is providing “assistance to a new Benghazi-based foundation, Independent Libyan Media, which works to educate emerging print, radio, and new media journalists in the practice of responsible journalism.”
We have written to USAID and The Atlantic’s Graeme Wood seeking more information concerning the USAID’s involvement in training Libyan journalists and will update with any response.