The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has today condemned the arrest on 17 January of three journalists while covering several demonstrations against food rising prices across Sudan.
According to media reports, the authorities in Sudan said they detained on Wednesday three journalists who were covering protests in Omdruman city against the rising prices of food items, mainly bread and sugar. One of them is 51-year-old Abu Idris Ali, who has worked for Agence France Press (AFP) in Khartoum for nearly a decade.
A Reuters spokesperson confirmed that their stringer was also arrested but said they didn’t know the circumstances of his detention and didn’t reveal his identity.
The authorities told media that both journalists were being held at a detention centre run by Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), adding that they “are being investigated”. A third journalist is also under arrest, they said, without providing any further details.
The Sudanese Journalists Union (SJU), an IFJ affiliate, in its statement condemned the arrest of the journalists by the authorities during the performance of their professional duties, which negates the journalist's right “not to be held accountable for public information”, as long as he is “honest and impartial in the performance of his journalistic profession and his commitment to the principles and values of the Constitution and the law”. The SJU statement further noted that "the fundamental contributions of journalists and media to the circulation of information and ideas, and that the work of a free, independent and impartial press is one of the basic foundations of a democratic society."
The IFJ joined the SJU in condemning these arrests in the strongest terms possible and called on the Sudanese government to release the journalists immediately and unconditionally.
The IFJ condemned these arrests in the strongest terms possible and called on the Sudanese government to release the journalists immediately and unconditionally.
“Sudanese authorities have gone overboard in arresting and detaining journalists who were only doing their job in covering the demonstrations,” said IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger. “Their arrest amounts to intimidation and harassment aimed at preventing citizens and the world at large from knowing the truth and having full access to it. Such deliberate acts of intimidation must be condemned and justice should be served.”
Bellanger added: “The Sudanese government must respect basic human rights, most especially freedom of expression. Sudanese citizens, including journalists and media workers, have the right to seek, receive and share information and obstacles imposed on the enjoyment of these supreme rights pose an inexcusable violation.”
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