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'Censorship of the press in Sudan is a joke'

May 27 - 2016 KHARTOUM
Sudanese newspapers.
Sudanese newspapers.

Khartoum's intervention in the Sudanese press, including censorship prior to publication, is “a very rude phenomenon that has occurred for a long time”.

Speaking to Radio Dabanga in today's Sudanese Files programme (Milafaat Sudaniya), media expert Mohamed Abdelhamid, working as a journalist for Sudanese newspapers, said that the Sudanese security service intervenes in the content of the news by using prior censorship.

“This phenomenon has come to an end in most of the countries and is seen as a joke. Sadly it has returned to Sudan,” Abdelhamid said.

“But censorship did not even occur in previous eras of dictatorships in Sudan.”

President Omar Al Bashir took power in Sudan after leading a bloodless military coup against President Nimeiry in 1989.

“The security has become responsible for the performance of the press by confiscating the newspapers after printing.” Such actions are the affairs of the judiciary in Sudan, he stressed.

“The government holds a hostile position against the press, so the press cannot play its role as watchdog.

“The press in Sudan remains powerless and inadequate, and lags behind in performing its role. Sudanese journalists continue their struggle to recover these values.”

According to the American NGO Freedom House, the 2009 Press and Publications Act allows for restrictions on the press in the interests of national security and public order. A Ministry of Justice-led committee of representatives of journalists and the security service works on amendments to the Press and Publications Act. It is expected to conclude a report on the act, in effect since 2009, within two months.

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