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Steps taken towards a new, independent Sudanese Journalist Syndicate

July 26 - 2022 KHARTOUM
Journalists protested in El Fula, West Kordofan, last month after RSF soldiers assaulted a journalist (social media)
Journalists protested in El Fula, West Kordofan, last month after RSF soldiers assaulted a journalist (social media)

Sudanese journalists are working on a new, independent Journalists Syndicate. On Saturday they elected the members of the committee that will oversee the elections for the syndicate’s Executive Committee.

During a well-attended meeting of the General Assembly of Sudanese Journalists in El Amarat in Khartoum on Saturday, the journalists took significant steps towards the establishment of a new independent Journalist Syndicate. The General Assembly selected a committee to supervise the elections of the Executive Committee of the new Journalists Syndicate.

The step was hailed on social media as an important democratic achievement. “Despite Sudan’s military coup, civilians strive to create & implement democratic institutions. The latest example: ahead of journalist syndicate elections –the first in 33 years– journalists elected a management body to oversee the process,” ‘electoral systems nerd’ Amal Hamdan commented in a tweet.

“While we focus on seeing big democratic changes in Sudan, we shouldn't neglect to celebrate small wins,” Kholood Khair, broadcaster and managing partner of think-and-do tank Insight Strategy Partners in Khartoum, tweeted. “Members of the journalists' union, long controlled by regime's allies, elect a management body to oversee elections [..]. Vital building blocks of democracy.”

Press freedom has been under threat more since the October 25 military coup and various journalists have been assaulted or detained for doing their work whilst some media outlets faced closure.

Member elections

The General Assembly elected eight journalists to prepare and supervise the elections of the Executive Committee of the Journalists Syndicate, headed by Feisal Mohamed Salih who was Minister of Information during the government of PM Abdallah Hamdok.

Other members are Ahmed Younis, Director of the Middle East newspaper’s office in Khartoum, and journalists Lamya El Jeili, Muawia El Jak, El Shafee El Adeeb, El Ahmadi Farah, Ezzedin Dahab, Entisar Awad, and Muzdalifa Osman.

Next to electing a committee to supervise the elections, the members of the General Assembly also approved the journalist's Code of Honour prepared by the Preparatory Committee and the syndicate’s statutes after an extensive discussion that lasted more than five hours.

At the beginning of the meeting, head of the Preparatory Committee Abdelmonim Abu Idris held a speech in which he saluted the martyrs of the revolution and the audience stood for a minute in honour of the martyrs.

The General Assembly of Sudanese journalists was attended by representatives of other professional associations, such as engineers’, doctors’, and teachers’ unions, and a representative of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

The Preparatory Committee for the Restoration of the Sudanese Journalists Syndicate​ was amongst 23 trade union and professional groups that agreed on joint action for the transitional period earlier this month.

Both Feisal Mohamed Salih and Kholood Khair voiced staunch criticism of the actions and promises of Sudan's military.

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