Mohamed Nabbous – a Libyan citizen journalist, blogger, and businessman – became a renowned figure of the Libyan Revolution for his coverage of the February 17th uprising, which would eventually succeed in toppling the regime of Libya’s former dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Nabbous was killed by a sniper in the city of Benghazi on March 19th, 2011, while reporting from the field. He was 28-years old.
Born in the city of Benghazi, Nabbous received a degree in mathematics from Garyounis University (since renamed Benghazi University). Nabbous was technologically savvy, and eventually opened a Wireless ISP business in Bengahzi. He founded Libya Al Hurra TV station, the first independent broadcast news website to report on the events that transpired in Libya in the days and weeks following February 17th, 2011. Nabbous is survived by his wife Samra “Perdita” Nabbous and his one year-old daughter Mayar – born in June 2011.
In an interview with Andy Carvin from NPR, Nabbous described Libya Al Hurra TV as Libya’s, “local equivalent to Radio Free Europe or Voice of America.” Nabbous covered the unrest in Benghazi, and in Libya’s eastern regions, from the field from the onset of the regime’s crackdown on peaceful protesters.
While reporting about the besieged city of Benghazi, Nabbous pleaded for intervention from the international community – through Libya Al Hurra – to stop Gaddafi’s massacre of civilians in the city. In spite of the implementation of an internet blackout by Gaddafi’s regime, Nabbous was able to bypass the government’s block on the internet and continue to circulate information.
Nabbous became famous for his statement, “I am not afraid to die. I am afraid to lose the battle,” which resonated across the internet. Many of his images, and reports, covering the bombardment of Benghazi with mortars and heavy artillery were rebroadcast by Al Jazeera English.
Nabbous’ death evoked strong reactions from personalities around the globe in media, politics, and international organizations. UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova condemned Nabbous’ killing, calling for the release of journalists in detention throughout the country. Bokova stated that Nabbous fulfilled his duty to inform the world about the events unfolding in Libya. The Nieman Foundation at Harvard University posthumously awarded Nabbous the Louis Lyons Award for Conscience and Integrity in Journalism. His wife received the award on his behalf on December 1st, 2011.
On January 30th, 2012, Samra Nabbous spoke at the National Day of Martyrs, Missing and Injured in Tripoli, commemorating the sacrifices of those who gave their lives to reveal truth to the world – through writing and reporting – about what was happening in Libya during the revolution. In January, 2012 Libya Al Ahrar TV founded a competition entitled, “The Mohamed Nabbous Competition for Artistic Creativity,” as a tribute to Mohamed Nabbous’ work.