The trial of three foreign journalists currently held by Libyan forces has been delayed indefinitely, judicial sources in Tripoli said to the DPA news agency.
The journalists were scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday. No further details have been made available as to why their trial was delayed.
Local media barred from case
Local media representatives have been told they will be prevented from attending the trial when it takes place.
Two Americans and one Spaniard were detained by Libyan authorities in eastern Libya in April.
Even though they were expected in court, Libyan officials refused to confirm the names of the men, saying only they were foreign nationals.
SA photographer Anton Hammerl, who was not expected to be among four journalists the Libyan government intends putting on trial, is also being held in Libya.
Don't know where Hammerl is
Department of International Relations and Cooperation spokesperson Clayson Monyela said he had seen press reports, but said of Hammerl: "We still do not know his whereabouts".
He said South African officials had still not gained consular access to Hammerl, who was reportedly seized by militia loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi near the city of Brega on 5 April.
Late on Monday the Associated Press quoted Libyan government spokesperson Moussa Ibrahim saying that four reporters held for the past few weeks by the Libyan government would face trial and could be released.
Ibrahim said the reporters included at least two Americans and a Spaniard, but did not mention their names. They will appear before a judge in an administrative court on Tuesday.
'They should be fined... releasd'
"It's not a big deal. They should be fined a certain amount of money and then they should be released," he was quoted as saying.
Among the reporters missing in Libya and thought to be in government custody are James Foley, a photojournalist working for Boston-based news agency GlobalPost; Clare Morgana Gillis, who was covering the fighting for The Atlantic and USA Today; and Manu Brabo, a Spanish photojournalist. They were captured on 5 April.
It was not clear whether Ibrahim was referring to this group. He told AP a South African journalist reported to have been captured by Libyan forces had not been found.
At the end of April there were reported to be at least 16 journalists missing.
Zuma criticised for avoiding issue
President Jacob Zuma was criticised for not raising Hammerl's release when he met with Gaddafi recently.
Dirco Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane was due to hold a meeting with the South African National Editors Forum (Sanef) on Tuesday morning, but Monyela said this had been cancelled due to "election commitments".
Sanef chairperson Mondli Makhanya said they were disappointed at the cancellation of the meeting. Sanef had hoped to obtain more information from the government on its efforts to free Hammerl and see how the media could help.
"We weren't going as a protest delegation," he said, adding that meeting had been rescheduled for next week.
Last Thursday Nkoana-Mashabane was quoted by The Star newspaper saying Hammerl was alive and safe.
Hammerl alive and safe
"I think what is very critical is to make sure that he remains safe, but also that we safely bring him back home," she told the paper. According to the report, she confirmed the South African government had proof Hammerl was alive.
Libyan ambassador to South Africa Abdullah Alzubedi, who in February called on Gaddafi to resign, said attempts by the embassy to get any information on Hammerl had to date been unsuccessful.
Late last month Austrian foreign ministry spokesman Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal said "two independent sources that told us he was alive, that he was well".
On Tuesday he said efforts were ongoing to achieve direct contact with Hammerl, who holds dual SA-Austrian nationality.
"Direct contact would be essential to lend credibility (to the sources)", he said.