The International Press Institute (IPI) today condemned the attack on a journalist in Benghazi and called upon the authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice and to provide better security for reporters.

According to the Libya Herald, on May 4 a group of armed men attacked Mabruka Almesmari, a female freelance photojournalist, during a peaceful protest in Benghazi against the sieges of government ministries in Tripoli and the pressure by certain groups to pass a Political Isolation Law that would purge former officials of Muammar Gaddafi’s ousted regime.

During the protest Almesmari was approached by the perpetrators while taking photographs of roughly 150 protesters outside the Tibesti hotel, the Libya Herald reported.

Almesmari told the Libya Herald that the armed men shouted at her, telling her to leave, before eventually shoving her violently to the ground. When a friend tried to help her, shots were fired to disperse the demonstrators.

According to the journalist, cited by the Libya Herald, no demonstrators were killed by the shots, which sought to disperse the crowd, and she did not sustain any injuries as a result of the confrontation with the armed men.

“We condemn the violent attack against Mabruka Almesmari and urge the authorities in Libya to conduct an investigation and bring the perpetrators to justice,” said IPI Deputy Director Anthony Mills.

Since the beginning of 2013, IPI has registered an increasing number of press freedom violations in Libya. The numerous attacks on media include violence directed at journalists Mohamad al-Gharyani of Al Aan TV and Sadiq al-Mabrouk of Al Naba TV, threats to Mansour Ati, editor of Akhbar Ajdabiya and illegal raids on the offices of Akhbar Ajdabiya and Al Assima TV).