Sudan: Authorities revoke Al Jazeera Mubasher's licence

The Sudanese authorities announced on 16 January the revocation of Al Jazeera's Mubasher licence on allegations of “unprofessional" TV coverage of anti-coup protests. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemns the decision and urges the Sudanese military to stop its crackdown against media freedom in the country.

A man chants slogans near a flying Sudanese national flag as people protesting against the military coup in Sudan demonstrate in "Street 60" in the east of capital Khartoum on November 13, 2021. AFP

Al Jazeera Mubasher has widely covered protests against the military power takeover in Sudan; which were marred by major crackdown on protesters and media censorship.

According to pro-democracy medics, at least 64 protesters have been killed, while the IFJ has reported several media closed and arbitrary detentions of journalists.

In a statement, Al Jazeera said that the Ministry of Culture and Information revoked the accreditation of its journalists Mohammed Omar and Badawi Bashir, under the basis of “the un-professional coverage of the Sudanese affairs” and the reporting of “incorrect information that damages the country’s interest and social fabric.”

The Network views this as an attack on press freedom as a whole and calls on international human rights and media organisations to condemn this infringement of journalists’ safety,” Al Jazeera said.

The revocation of Al Jazeera's licence means that the Qatar-based broadcaster will be banned from continuing their reporting on events in the country such as the pro-democracy demonstrations.

Al Jazeera chief bureau El Musalmi El Kabbashi, was arrested and the military forces raided his home earlier in November 2021 in response to the media’s coverage of the emerging civil protests.

Sudanese authorities have routinely arrested media workers and prevented agencies from doing their work in Sudan, while several media outlets have been suspended. The latest incident of media crackdown by the Sudanese military happened last week, when Sudanese Security Forces stormed Alaraby Television’s Khartoum office and arrested four media workers.

IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said: “The IFJ stands in solidarity with Al Jazeera's media staff  and all journalists who are facing a harsh crackdown by the Sudanese military for doing their job. The list of journalists arrested and media suspended has not stopped growing and we call on the international community to not turn a blind eye to what’s happening in Sudan. All arrested media workers must be released immediately.

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

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