Sudan: The clampdown on journalists must stop immediately

Several journalists have been targeted by the Sudanese authorities amid the massive public protests. Several media staff have had their media accreditation revoked this week. The IFJ  joins its affiliate the Sudanese Union of Journalists (SUJ) in condemning any attempts to intimidate the press and urges the authorities to end the clampdown and respect journalists' right to report in a safe working environment.

Sudanese men shout slogans during an anti-government protest following Friday noon prayers on January 18, 2019 outside a mosque in Khartoum's twin city Omdurman. Deadly protests have rocked Sudan since they first erupted on December 19 after a government decision to raise the price of bread. The rallies have since escalated into broader demonstrations against President Omar al-Bashir's three decades of iron-fisted rule and triggered clashes with the security forces. AFP

UPDATED 25.01.19

In a statement published on 22 January, the Qatari media network Al Jazeera said the Sudanese authorities had withdrawn the accreditation of their correspondents in the country, Osama Ahmed and Ahmed Alrehaid as well as cameraman Badawi Bashir. The media staff were duly issued accreditations for 2019 by the Sudanese Press and publication council.

Al Jazeera denounced an "arbitrary decision which lacks any credible justification and contradicts the basic norms of press freedom," and recalls the core ethical values that its staff abide by. 

 The withdrawal of the journalists' accreditations follows a month of protests against President Omar al-Bashir’s rule and demands for his removal. Since the start of the demonstrations, the government  has tightened its censorship on  Sudanese and foreign media, banning the publication of news and editorials and issuing warrant arrests against dozens of journalists. This measure was criticised by the SUJ.

 On 14 January, the Sudanese security forces detained for several hours over 20 journalists- most of them working for Aljareedah newspaper - who were protesting against the censorship and the repeated publication bans on the newspaper . The journalists were released following strong representation by the Sudanese Union of Journalists (SUJ).

According to media reports,  work permits were also withdrawn from media staff  covering Sudan for Saudi Al-Arabiya television and Turkish news agency Anadolu .

According to IFJ sources, the Sudanese authorities justified the withdrawal of journalists’ accreditation by highlighting the low professionalism level of news reports that were based on social media's content only. 

IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said "We ask the Sudanese authorities to let journalists report on events in the country free from any intimidation and to reinstate journalists’ accreditations and work permits for all those who have been targeted. Journalists should not be held responsible for the current crisis in Sudan and must be able to work in a safe environment, without intimidations and threats."

Federation of African Journalists (FAJ) President Elsadig Ibrahim said: " The actions of the Sudanese government violate the fundamental rights of journalists in the country and must stop immediately. The rights of journalists in Sudan to work and report freely without fear for their livelihood and freedom must be respected."

 

 

 

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