27 February 1983|
|Died||19 March 2011
|Cause of death||Gunshot wound|
|Alma mater||Garyounis University|
|Occupation||Journalist, Founder: Libya Alhurra TV|
|Spouse(s)||Samra Naas aka "Perditta"|
|Children||Mayar "Maya" (b. June 2, 2011)|
In the wake of the Libyan civil war, Nabbous founded Libya Alhurra TV, the first independent broadcast news organization since Gaddafi took power in Libya. Libya AlHurra TV was established in Benghazi, Libya on 19 February 2011 and started broadcasting online when Nabbous established a two-way satellite connection in the wake of a complete Internet blackout imposed by the Gaddafi regime subsequent to the 17 February protests.
Nabbous was shot by a Pro-Gaddafi sniper and killed on 19 March 2011 while reporting on attempts by government forces to fight revolutionaries and attack civilians in Benghazi. In the hours following the death of Nabbous, UN Coalition planes entered Libyan airspace to enforce a No-Fly Zone approved by the UN Security Council along with a Resolution authorizing "all necessary measures" to protect civilians against Gaddafi forces. In the last weeks of his life, Nabbous focused on bringing international attention to the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Libya. His death was widely reported by CNN and various media outlets. Prior to the establishment of Libya Al Hurra TV, Nabbous operated a number of businesses in Benghazi City.
A member of Nabbous' family, aged 17, was cited as one of the first casualties of the 17 February protests in Benghazi. Nabbous' wife Samra Naas was pregnant with the couple's first child at the time of his death.
On 2 June 2011 Mohamed's wife Samra Naas gave birth to a baby girl named Mayar "Maya" Nabbous.
In an interview with Canal+ France on February 26, 2011 Nabbous says he was running a Wireless ISP business in Benghazi in the 2000s with five WLAN access points, but was forced out of the business by competition from government sponsored broadband services using ADSL and Wimax technologies.
Work in media
NPR social media strategist Andy Carvin called Nabbous "the face of Libyan citizen journalism;" Nabbous was the primary contact of many international media outlets looking for information regarding the situation in Libya. Nabbous founded and ran the Internet division of Libya Alhurra TV. Der Spiegel reporter Clemens Höges called Nabbous "the man who just might be the most important person in the revolution."
Libya Alhurra TV was the only broadcast coming out of Benghazi when Muammar Gaddafi shut down Internet lines when the Libyan civil war began. Nabbous was able to bypass government blocks on Internet in order to broadcast live images from Benghazi across the world. On 10 March 2011, the Washington Post reported that the US Broadcasting Board of Governors (which includes Hillary Clinton) and the US State Department were funding tech firms that helped political dissidents in Libya, Egypt, and Tunisia communicate through the Internet, while evading government censors.
Work with Libya Alhurra TV
On 19 February 2011, in the first live broadcast from war-torn Benghazi after the Libyan revolution began, Nabbous declared, "I am not afraid to die, I am afraid to lose the battle." This statement resonated across the Internet, and was subsequently used in other videos and broadcasts about events happening in Libya.
Libya Alhurra TV included nine cameras streaming 24 hours a day since the channel’s creation on 17 February. As Libya Alhurra TV's communications became more sophisticated, Nabbous was able to take cameras with him to different parts of Benghazi in order to capture the destruction and carnage caused by mortars and shelling up-close.
Over the last few days and hours of his life, Nabbous continued reporting. Streaming over Libya Alhurra TV, Nabbous was able to share live video and provide commentary regarding the bombing of the Benghazi power station and fuel tank explosion on 17 March, the firing of missiles on Benghazi from near-by city Sultan on 18 March, the attacks on civilians and consequent destruction in the morning of 19 March, and the death of two young victims: 4 month-old and 5 year-old children killed in their bedroom by a missile launched in the morning of 19 March. These images and reports were broadcast over the Internet, and later rebroadcast by international media outlets such as Al Jazeera English, thereby offering an eyewitness account of the events on the ground relevant to United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973.
Nabbous is believed to have been killed by forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in Benghazi while reporting on the claims of a cease-fire made by the Gaddafi regime in response to United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973. Nabbous was allegedly shot in the head by a sniper soon after exposing the Gaddafi regime's false reports related to the cease-fire declaration; sitting in the back of a truck, he was using a mobile phone to record audio of the then-ongoing violence, and the audio recording cut off at the estimated time of the assault. Nabbous was in critical condition until he died around 3 p.m. CET. Nabbous' wife announced his death in a video on Libya Alhurra TV.
News of Nabbous' death elicited strong reactions from members of journalistic organizations and personalities:
- "He touched the hearts of many with his bravery and indomitable spirit. He will be dearly missed and leaves behind his young wife and unborn child", said Sharon Lynch, Libya Alhurra TV station representative and colleague of Nabbous.
- Bilal Randeree, journalist for Al Jazeera
- Don Lemon, CNN reporter who interviewed Nabbous on 19 February and Arwa Damon, CNN correspondent based in Benghazi, paid tribute to Nabbous on 20 March. He was billed as a CNN contributor, and had interviewed Ben Wedeman on 26 February.
- Ben Wedeman, CNN reporter tweeted on 19 March: "Mohammed Nabbous was one of the courageous voices from Benghazi broadcasting to the world from the beginning. Smart, selfless, brave."
- Andy Carvin, NPR's senior product manager for online communities: "[A]ll of a sudden, as Benghazi was trying to free itself from Gadhafi, you started hearing voices coming over the Internet and one of those first voices to come out was Mo"...Nabbous, Andy says, used Libya Alhurra TV to become "their local equivalent of Radio Free Europe or Voice of America, where he was trying to get the world to hear their point of view of what was going on. And as he did that, he basically became a reporter or even an anchor."
- UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova: "I condemn the killing of Mohammed al-Nabbous [sic], who was killed while fulfilling his professional duty of informing citizens about the dramatic events taking place in Libya".
- Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) Abdel Dayem: "We send our condolences to the family and friends of our colleague Mohammad al-Nabbous [sic]."
- International Press Institute (IPI) Press Freedom Manager Anthony Mills: “Our condolences go out to the wife, family, and colleagues of Mohammed al-Nabous [sic].”
"I want to let all of you to know that Mohammad has passed away for this cause. He died for this cause, and let's hope that Libya will become free," Nabbous' wife said through tears. "Please keep the channel going, please post videos, and just move every authority you have to do something against this. There's still bombing, there's still shooting, and more people are going to die. Don't let what Mo started go for nothing, people. Make it worth it," she urged everyone assisting the network and the Libya cause.
Nabbous was perceived as the face and voice of the Libyan revolution and was one of the first people to be interviewed by western journalists soon after Benghazi was liberated by Libyan opposition forces. According to the Guardian, Nabbous was described as the "face of citizen journalism" in Libya. "I am not afraid to die, I am afraid to lose the battle!" was one of Nabbous' early declarations on 19 February 2011 following the establishment of the channel. "That's why I want the media to see what's going on."
In December, 2011, the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University posthumously awarded Mo Nabbous the Louis Lyons Award for Conscience and Integrity in Journalism. The award was given to Mo's wife, Samra, at a ceremony at the Lippmann House in Cambridge on December 1, 2011.
- "March 19 - 4:43pm". Al Jazeera Libya Live Blog. Al Jazeera English. 19 March 2011. Retrieved 20 March 2011.
- "Online journalist Mohammed Nabbous killed in Libya". The Spy Report (Media Spy). 20 March 2011. Retrieved 20 March 2011.
- Mohamed Nobbous press kit
- "Daughter of Libyan civilian journalist born months after his death". CNN. 5 June 2011.
- al-Hura live interview with Canal+ France Feb 26.
- Mohammad Nabbous, face of citizen journalism in Libya, is killed
- 'Voice of Free Libya' silenced by sniper's bullet
- "A Courthouse in Benghazi: The Nerve Center of the Libyan Revolution". Spiegel.de. 4 March 2011. Retrieved 19 March 2011.
- Shapira, Ian (10 March 2011). "US Funding Tech Firms That Help Dissidents Evade Government Censors". Washington Post (Washington Post). Retrieved 22 March 2011.
- leakspinner (20 February 2011). "(Message From Libya) TELL THE WORLD WHAT IS HAPPENING TO US!!!!!.flv". YouTube. Retrieved 19 March 2011.
- Vukets, Cynthia (19 March 2011). "Libyan citizen journalist killed". The Toronto Star. Retrieved 19 March 2011.
- Wells, Matt (19 March 2011). "Mohammad Nabbous, face of citizen journalism in Libya, is killed". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 19 March 2011.
- "Libya: Mohammed "Mo" Al Nabbous, founder of Benghazi webcast "Libya Alhurra TV," killed in firefight". Boing Boing. 19 March 2011. Retrieved 19 March 2011.
- "Libya Alhurra TV - Live Show Sat Mar 19 2011 03:15:19 PM". Libya Alhurra TV. 19 March 2011.
- Bilal Randeree (February 19, 2011). "Post by Bilal Randeree". Tumblr.
- "Activist and CNN contributor killed". CNN. March 20, 2011.
- Libya17febstream (February 26, 2011). "Ben Wedeman (@bencnn) & Mohamad Nabbous talk about drugs". YouTube.
- Hill, Jess (21 March 2011). "Libyan journalist killed in Benghazi". ABC NEWS.
- Official memorial page
- Mo's last report: Libya Alhurra TV: Mo is on the phone heavy battle (YouTube)