The Ambassador of the European Union and the Ambassadors of EU Member States accredited to Libya have called on "Libyan leadership" to protect media freedom and create a safe environment for journalists in Libya to do their job.

The EU delegation to Libya said in a statement on Monday that Libya remains a tough place for journalists, media professionals and activists who continue to face intimidation and smear campaigns, attacks on their homes, families and physical integrity, and arbitrary prosecution for the work they do.

"The conflict has further exacerbated threats to media freedom in Libya. Journalists and media professionals work under extremely high personal risk in Libya which ranks 164th on the World Press Freedom Index in 2020." The statement reads.

It indicated that journalists invited to international events have been harassed upon their return to Libya, adding that journalists, media professionals, bloggers and activists have a crucial role in holding governments to account and ensuring people have access to impartial and valid information.

"Libya has recently seen an unprecedented increase in disinformation circulating on social media and offline, fueling the conflict. Professional journalism and a trustworthy press are urgently needed to counter false narratives and incitement of hate. Libya stands at a crossroads in its peace process. To build trust among society, and thus contribute to lasting peace, political leaders in Libya must support a free press and create a safe environment for media workers." The EU statement further adds.

It urged the Libyan leadership to protect independent media and bring to justice those who commit crimes against journalists, saying they should be able to carry out their work without fear of violence, censorship or threats of prosecution under false pretenses and charges.

"We also ask the Libyan authorities to ease obstacles that foreign journalists encounter to doing their job in Libya." The EU statement added.