As rebels and loyalists in Libya squabble over who has control of Tripoli, some international journalists are uncharacteristically quiet on the sidelines. Reporters and news staff from the BBC, Reuters, CNN, and other news organizations remain huddled inside the luxurious Rixos Hotel under the watch of armed government forces.
When rebels entered the city over the weekend, many Libyan officials fled the hotel leaving behind armed guards with orders to keep the journalists inside. Reporters are confined to the hotel and are without air-conditioning and electricity. The journalists first checked into the hotel in order to comply with Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s demands on the international press corps. Reporters were granted access into the country, but on the conditions that they stay in the Rixos and that they go nowhere unaccompanied. A reporting climate that started with supervised visits to select locations and calculated press conferences has now become more dire.
While the journalists at the Rixos struggle with dwindling food and water supplies, others are facing more immediate dangers. Some journalists who have been following behind the rebels on their way into Tripoli have free roam of the embattled streets, but risk getting caught in the crossfire between rebels and loyalists.