Alaraby workers arrested included reporter Wael Mohammed Alhassan, office supervisor Islam Saleh, camera operator Mazen Oono and his assistant Abu Baker Ali. The team had covered protests calling for civilian rule in Sudan and denouncing the military coup that took place on 25 October 2021.
Their employer Alaraby, which is headquartered in London, UK, asked for the immediate release of their staff members. A statement said that "Alaraby Television’s coverage of the ongoing events in Sudan is objective and professional, and the team operates with all required licenses and permits to carry out its journalism."
The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) in the UK and Ireland, an IFJ affiliate, also condemned the arrest.“The NUJ calls on the Sudanese government to release the four members of staff immediately. They were there to legitimately cover the protests and it is outrageous that journalists aren’t able to do their jobs without fear of being arrested.”
IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: " What happened on 13 January is another unacceptable attack on the press in Sudan. The Sudanese army must stop immediately its ongoing crackdown on media workers. We demand the unconditional release of our four Alaraby colleagues and urge the army to respect freedom of the press and provide the media corps with all the security they need to carry out their duties."
The situation in Sudan is deteriorating, following the resignation of Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok on 2 January and the takeover of Sudan by the army.
The IFJ has reported severe attacks against the press in Sudan in the past six months. On 30 December, security forces stormed the offices of Al-Arabiya – Al-Hadath – and Al-Sharq channels, and assaulted journalists and other employees. On 14 November, the Sudanese authorities arrested the bureau chief of Al Jazeera at his home in Khartoum. In July 2021, Sudanese security forces arrested Al Jazeera journalist Ali Abou Shaleh for a few hours while he was covering anti-government protests in Khartoum. In the same month, the Sudanese authorities blocked more than 30 news websites in the run up to protests demanding the resignation of the government, while in October 2021, several journalists were arrested and media offices stormed during the unfolding of a military coup in Khartoum.