Sudan: Safety concerns for journalists and media workers amid fighting

Several journalists and media workers were trapped for three days inside their workplaces after fighting between the Sudanese army and paramilitary forces broke out on 15 April in the capital of Sudan, Khartoum. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate, the Sudanese Journalists Union (SJU) in expressing concern about the safety of journalists and media workers covering the clashes and reminds the parties that journalists must not be targeted.

A column of smoke rises behind buildings near the airport area in Khartoum on April 19, 2023, amid fighting between the army and paramilitaries. Credit: AFP

At least fifteen journalists and media workers, including six women, were stuck for three days without food and basic items inside the Sudan News Agency (SUNA) building in the capital, Khartoum, according to the SJU. They were not allowed to leave the office until 17 April, due to fighting and shooting. This was not an isolated incident. 

Journalists and employees working for the Al Hurra TV and Russia Today (RT) channels found themselves in a similar situation. They were also trapped in their offices in Khartoum during the violent clashes. The RT’s correspondent in the capital reported soldiers being deployed near the building, projectiles falling and a shortage of food and water.   

Several similar incidents have been reported since the clashes broke out in Sudan, according to SJU. A shell fell on the ceiling of the General Authority for Radio and Television in the city of Omdurman, northwest of the capital, during a live broadcast. More than 12 journalists and media workers were present at the moment of the impact but, fortunately, none of them were injured. 

Another projectile fell on the headquarters of Tana Agency, a building where several media offices are located in the capital. As a result, a number of correspondents were trapped inside the building for two days.  

Some journalists and media workers were beaten at Meore airport, in the north of the country, and in the town of Ayala in South Darfur, according to SJU.

On 16 April, Sudan’s state television cut the transmission of its broadcasts as the fighting escalated. 

The SJU released a statement calling for an immediate halt to the fighting and calling on journalists to be cautious in their coverage of the violent events. 

IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: “We are monitoring the unfolding events closely and we stand in solidarity with journalists in Sudan during these difficult times. The IFJ is concerned about the safety of journalists and media workers and reminds both parties that journalists must not be targeted. All parties to the conflict must endeavour to guarantee the safety and security of journalists, especially those trapped in their offices as well as civilians.”

The IFJ has published a safety advisory in Arabic for journalists and media workers covering the events that are unfolding in the country.

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

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