Leading article: Meanwhile in Libya...

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The Independent Online

The vast scale of the destruction in Japan and the ruthless drama of the tsunami have dominated the news, especially television news, in recent days. Nor should this be a matter for apology. These events have an awe-inspiring cinematic quality. But technological prowess and media freedom are also reasons why Japan's disaster has been so thoroughly chronicled. Were this, say, North Korea, there would have been far, far less to show and tell.

Libya is not North Korea, but nor is it Japan. A ferocious clampdown on reporting and poor communications have inevitably meant that there is less to show. But it would be unfortunate if the seductive power of pictures from Japan blotted out the brutal reality of what is happening in Libya. As we watch the Japanese mobilising their massive rescue efforts, and international help begins to arrive, it should not be forgotten that, many thousands of miles away, a furious leader is taking vengeance on whole towns that dared to cross him.

In four days alone, pro-Gaddafi forces have swept with unstoppable force from west to east. It would appear that only Benghazi now remains in opposition hands. Whatever happens next, the world needs to know about it. The grim truth of Col Gaddafi's retrenchment must not become collateral damage, drowned out by the Japanese tsunami.

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