FAJ Calls on Sudan to Investigate Raid of a Newspaper

Authorities in Sudan must investigate and put an end to the attacks against journalists and an independent newspaper, the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ) said today. <u1:p></u1:p>


According to FAJ group in Eastern Africa, an unknown group of people, on Friday 19 July 2014, raided on the premises of Al-Tayar newspaper and attacked the editor in chief Osman Merghani and three journalists. They were injured and their laptops and mobile phones taken away. <u1:p></u1:p>


The Eastern Africa Journalists Association (EAJA) reported that  the raid and the attacks followed the comments made by the editor during an interview, on Arab-Israeli relations during which he spoke favorably of Israel, describing it as a “democratic’’ state among “undemocratic” Arab nations.  Islamists and Nationalists groups have then severely criticized the editor and have reportedly launched a campaign against him. <u1:p></u1:p>


FAJ condemns the incident. “This is a severe blow to free speech and Sudan authorities should put an end to the attacks,” said Mohamed Garba, FAJ President. “Freedom of expression is at stake if citizens including journalists are not allowed to express with responsibility their ideas and opinions on current affairs”. <u1:p></u1:p>


“These comments from a journalist cannot justify the attacks against him and three of his colleagues as well as the raid against the office of his newspaper,” said Gabriel Baglo, IFJ Africa director.  “Authorities in Sudan must thoroughly investigate the attacks, and bring the perpetrators to book”. <u1:p></u1:p>


In Sudan, the journalists’ syndicate, the Sudanese Journalists Union (SJU) has issued a statement to condemn the attacks, saying the editor’s opinion should not be used as justification to attack him.<u1:p></u1:p>


The Eastern Africa Journalists Association (EAJA) Secretary General Alexandre Niyungeko said the Sudanese government had the duty to protect journalists and the media generally from extremist elements and groups that had scant regard for press freedom and freedom of expression as they were enemies of democracy and a free society.<u1:p></u1:p>


“All efforts should be made to ensure those who perpetrated this unwarranted raid and attacked the journalists are punished to ensure journalists do not feel intimidated in their work and to safeguard press freedom,”Niyungeko added.<u1:p></u1:p>


For more information, please contact FAJ Secretariat: +221 33 867 95 86/87<u1:p></u1:p>

FAJ represents more than 50.000 journalists in 40 countries in Africa<u1:p></u1:p>