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Sudan coup media curbs – journalists lament mass violations

February 27 - 2022 SUDAN

Ever since Sudan’s progress from the oppressive Al Bashir dictatorship – which was overthrown by popular revolution in April 2019 – toward a free and democratic society, was cut short by the military the military coup d’état of October 25, Radio Dabanga receives daily reports of human rights violations in general, and pressure, attacks, detentions, and harassment of journalists and news outlets in particular.

From the day of the coup, the internet and mobile phone communications was blacked-out across Sudan in a junta-enforced outage that lasted more than three weeks. To this day, the junta frequently uses its influence to shut down communications, whenever a mass public demonstration is planned.

Journalists and correspondents of national and international news channels and agencies are facing increasing violence a, especially when covering the ongoing campaign of pro-democracy marches calling for a return to civilian rule.

In a new video journalists offer Radio Dabanga first-hand testimony about their detention (including torture) by security forces, physical attacks on newsrooms and offices, and pressure that is being brought to bear by the junta on independent news gathering and distribution. Press representatives also offer their thoughts about the future of the media and the press in Sudan.


Sudan limits press freedom

Most recently, a leading figure in Forces for Freedom and Change, confirmed the existence of an organised and systematic campaign against the social media pages of influential activists by unknown parties.

To cite but a few earlier incidents, on February 7, the BBC reported that the Sudanese security forces detained three of its reporters in Khartoum. The broadcaster tweeted that “the Sudanese security forces arrested the BBC Arabic team delegated to Khartoum and accredited by the Sudanese Ministry of Information.”

Participants in a protest march captured on video the moment the journalists were stopped by a group of men in civilian clothes on motorcycles and a white pick-up truck without number plates. The journalists were released later that day.

Photographers Mohamed Khidir and Majdi Abdallah working for the Chinese news agency Xinhua were detained and questioned for hours by the military authorities on January 12.

Crew members of the London-based Al Araby press agency were attacked with tear gas canisters while they were filming protests from their office in central Khartoum on January 4.

In late December, joint security forces stormed the offices of the Arab Al Arabiya and Al Hadath satellite TV channels, assaulted the journalists present, destroyed their equipment, and stole their belongings. Staff members of Asharq News Channel and Sky News Arabia were threatened as well.

During the Marches of the Millions on December 19, a large number of journalists and other media professionals in the capital were beaten and detained. A woman journalist went missing.

In January, the Sudanese Ministry of Information and Culture withdrew the license of Al Jazeera Live, and closed its office in Khartoum.

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