Sudan journalist faces death threats after Quran school exposé

El Jareeda journalist Safaa El Fahal (Social media profile picture)


A journalist at Sudan’s El Jareeda newspaper, Safaa El Fahal, has received threats from an extremist Islamic group via Facebook, after she wrote a column on military training taking place in Quran schools.

El Fahal told Radio Dabanga that she had covered the story of a woman who told her that women and girls were receiving military training in Quran schools.

In a message via Messenger, a person who stated that he belongs to the Missionary Movement for Preaching and Fighting, declared her an infidel and threatened to “seize and slaughter her”, adding that she ‘had better repent before we get you”.

The journalist filed a report with the Informatics Prosecution, asking for the identity of the person who threatened her to be revealed.

Press freedom

Last year, on the occasion of the first anniversary of the October 25 coup, the Sudanese Journalists Syndicate (SJS) lamented that the press and media in Sudan have faced unprecedented targeting since the October 2021 coup, and that that the press and media in Sudan have been facing “a terrible regression in terms of press freedom”.

“Sudanese authorities continue to harass and make it difficult for journalists to do their work in Sudan,” said the African Center for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) in a statement in September. The organisation explained that “reform does not mean duplicating policies of the former regime, but rather creating a strategic reform process.”

Sudan is ranked 151 out of 180 in the 2022 World Press Freedom Index, and is ranked as 29 out of 100, i.e. ‘Not Free’, in Freedom House’s Internet Freedom Index. “Anti-journalist predators enjoy total impunity and are protected by the authorities,” according to Reporters Without Borders. On its website, the organisation states that “journalists are working in a worsening climate of violence” since the military coup d’état of October 25, 2021.