Remembering Mo Nabbous, 'The Face Of Libyan Citizen Journalism' : The Two-Way He became the local equivalent of Radio Free Europe or Voice of America as Benghazi freed itself from the Gadhafi regime. And over the weekend, Nabbous died while reporting — shot, it appears, by a Gadhafi regime sniper.
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Remembering Mo Nabbous, 'The Face Of Libyan Citizen Journalism'

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Remembering Mo Nabbous, 'The Face Of Libyan Citizen Journalism'

Remembering Mo Nabbous, 'The Face Of Libyan Citizen Journalism'

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Now to a powerful voice that has been silenced in Libya, a citizen journalist named Mohammed Nabbous.

MOHAMMED NABBOUS: Check. Check. Check. Hello. If you can hear me, hello. He is bombing Benghazi, no doubt. I have seen it myself with my own eyes...

BLOCK: Mohammed Nabbous started an Internet TV station in Benghazi last month. He called it Libya Alhurra or Free Libya. He streamed 24 hours a day, showing video of the city under attack, and he pleaded for Western intervention to stop Gadhafi.

NABBOUS: For God's sake, who can rule over 42 years? Isn't that enough? I mean, I don't understand how can you people just watch us getting killed and not putting pressure...

BLOCK: On Saturday, as Mohammed Nabbous was out in Benghazi, streaming audio live...


BLOCK: ...he found himself in the middle of an intense firefight.

NABBOUS: We have bombs right here in front of us right now.

BLOCK: And moments later, the audio stopped short.

Unidentified Man: (Foreign language spoken)

BLOCK: Mohammed Nabbous had been shot and killed. Soon, his pregnant widow, Perdita, posted this message online, saying her husband, nicknamed Mo, had died for the cause.

PERDITA NABBOUS: Don't let what Mo started go for nothing, people. Make it worth it.

BLOCK: Mohammed Nabbous was 28 years old.

Among the many people around the world following his live stream channel is NPR's Andy Carvin, who monitors social media for us.

Andy, thanks for coming by.

ANDY CARVIN: Thanks for having me.

BLOCK: And you have called Mohammed Nabbous the face of Libyan citizen journalism.

CARVIN: In many ways, he was because the media was so tightly controlled by the Gadhafi regime. And then all of a sudden, as Benghazi was trying to free itself, you started hearing voices coming over the Internet. And one of those first voices to come out was Mo, Mohammed Nabbous.

And he was a fairly tech savvy guy, had worked in the tech industry before. And so he managed to rig together a live stream, using freely available tools and a satellite Internet access. And suddenly, he became 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.

BLOCK: What were some of the stories that he was able to tell?

CARVIN: There were a variety of them. One of the very last stories he told was the night before he died, there were missile strikes in one neighborhood in Benghazi. And he spent a lot of time wandering around the wreckage. And it turns out, unfortunately, that the missile had struck a family's house and landed directly in the children's bedroom. So one of the very last things he was able to document was a missile attack landing in a residential neighborhood during the so-called ceasefire that Gadhafi had started.

BLOCK: Andy, besides following his feed, were you communicating with him directly once you found him?

CARVIN: I did several times. When I first started following Libya just over a month ago, it was really hard to get started just because Libya, from a media point of view, was such a black hole. And so the first thing I did was trying to reach out to Libyan ex-pats here in the U.S. and Europe. And many of them would get back to me quickly and say, you have to go talk to this guy named Mohammed.

I thought, OK, well, there are probably a number of Mohammeds I should talk to, given that it's a popular name there. But I soon realized they were all talking about Mohammed Nabbous, because they knew he was the one guy with the tech chops, as well as the video skills and the network locally to pull all of this together. And so while the rest of the world was still focusing largely on Egypt, and to a lesser extent Bahrain, he was getting organized and getting the word out that the revolt was already under way and people were getting killed.

BLOCK: You know, Andy, one of the most iconic things now that Mohammed Nabbous is known to have said was this: I'm not afraid to die. I'm afraid to lose the battle. And I wonder if there are others who have picked up where he left off and are continuing the work that he did in Benghazi.

CARVIN: I think that's definitely the case. We may not know their names yet, but if you look on Facebook or YouTube or Twitter any given day, you will find freshly uploaded videos from Benghazi, from Misurata, from Zawiyah. So Mohammed was a pioneer, but he wasn't alone. I think he helped show Libyans that they should feel free enough and safe enough to record their stories so the rest of us could bear witness.

BLOCK: NPR's Andy Carvin, talking with me about Mohammed Nabbous, a citizen journalist from Benghazi, Libya, who was shot and killed on Saturday.

Andy, thanks so much.

CARVIN: Thank you.

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