Sudan: Attacks on media freedom amid military coup

On 25 October, several journalists were arrested and media offices stormed during the unfolding of a military coup in Khartoum. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) expresses serious concerns over such violence against journalists and calls on the military to respect press freedom.

Sudanese people protest against a military coup overthrowing the transition to civilian rule, on October 25, 2021 in the capital Khartoum's twin city of Omdurman. Sudan's top general declared a state of emergency and dissolved the authorities leading the country's democratic transition today, after soldiers detained civilian leaders in what the UN condemned as a "coup". AFP

The military seized power in Sudan on 25 October, dissolving the eastern African country’s transitional government while ousted Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and other senior officials were put under house arrest.

According to media reports, the military forces have also targeted several journalists in a series of arrests. On Monday, Bloomberg/Al Sharq correspondent Maha Al-Talb and her crew were arrested and held for two hours in the country’s capital city, Khartoum.

On the same day, military officials stormed the headquarters of the Sudanese state radio and TV broadcaster and arrested several of its workers.

"Joint military forces have stormed the TV and radio headquarters in Omdurman and detained a number of staff," the ministry of information said in a statement posted on Facebook.

The uprising military has also disrupted the free access to internet, mobile services and radio stations.

Demonstrators have taken to the streets to protest against the military coup.

Widespread censorship over media in Sudan

The crackdown on journalists and unions has been a recurring event in Sudan in recent years. In August 2020, The Sudanese authorities issued an arrest warrant for the President of Sudanese Journalists' Union following their decision to dissolve the union in 2019, while in December 2020 84 broadcast workers were fired over alleged loyalty to the former regime.

The Sudanese authorities also blocked more than 30 news websitesin the run up to protests demanding the resignation of the government in July 2021.
The IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said: “The military must stop the crackdown on media and reestablish the free flow of information and access to the internet. The IFJ will closely monitor all the incidents against journalists to ensure press freedom and a free access to information in such a critical moment for Sudan.”

For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 16

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 146 countries

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