We have all seen the international outrage over Libya’s alleged slave markets which was sparked by a report by CNN’s Nima Elbagir after she disguised as a migrant and used a concealed camera to record what she said was a slave auction.
Yet to this day, we haven’t seen any other evidence that the alleged slave auctions do really exist in Libya. Here is why I find CNN’s video deeply questionable. Libyan readers will recall that this is not the first time the American broadcaster produces a controversial report about Libya:
During the 2011 revolution CNN aired a report (video below) showing a blurred cell-phone footage which was presented to viewers around the globe as a rape crime committed by Gaddafi troops. It didn’t take long for Libyan activists to confirm that video as fake after they managed to locate its original uncensored version which turned out to be an old pornographic material that not only predated the Libyan revolution, but existed on several porn websites. It is still unclear whether CNN had intentionally fabricated the rape story, or that it fell victim to unverified content sent to them by Libyan rebels as part of the propaganda war against Gaddafi.
Since November 2017, when CNN published its report about slave auctions, there has been a sudden rise in the number of migrants who claimed that they too had been sold as slaves in Libya. Most of which was meant to show them as eligible for asylum in Europe. It got worse when people started to share fake stories on social media alleging to show abuses carried out by Libyans against sub-Saharan migrants. A quick factcheck using www.Images.Google.Com confirmed that most of those pictures had nothing to do with Libya.
Is it just me, or do you also agree that it’s very strange that the CNN video opened with the migrants laughing during the alleged slave action and that every place visited by Ms Elbagir happened to have a live slave auction for her to tape? This can only mean two things: either the auctions are being held around the clock, or that whoever accompanied her knew exactly where and when they will take place.
As a Libyan, what I know for certain is that it’s impossible for Ms Elbagir to move around with such ease in cities controlled by militias, let alone obtaining access to secret camps controlled by people smugglers, unless she was escorted by someone very influential and trusted by the smugglers. Which in turn begs the question: What is the relation between Ms Elbagir and this influential figure, and what motivated him to help her? Was is it money (in exchange for the scoop), or humanitarian compassion with the victims?
As the case with the fake rape story, it remains unclear whether CNN has intentionally fabricated the report as part of ploy to force countries of origin to take back their subjects before reaching Europe, or that someone from inside Libya lured CNN into publishing it to serve a personal or partisan agenda.
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