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Sudanese Journalists Syndicate criticise 'terrible regression' of press freedom

October 26 - 2022 KHARTOUM
Sudanese newspapers (File photo)
Sudanese newspapers (File photo)

The Sudanese Journalists Syndicate (SJS) said yesterday that the press and media in Sudan have faced unprecedented targeting since the October 2021 coup. 

In a statement on the occasion of the first anniversary of a coup that derailed Sudan's transition to civilian rule, the SJS said that the press and media in Sudan have been facing “a terrible regression in terms of press freedom”.

Authorities blocked internet access nationwide yesterday, echoing actions taken last year during the coup. At the time, the Journalists Association for Human Rights (JAHR) said that "cutting off the Internet, among its many economic and social damages... deprives every one of the right to benefit from the Internet... and prevents freedom of expression."

“The Sudanese press suffers from oppression, threats, brutal beatings, revenge attacks, summons and detentions, in addition to raids of press offices, destruction of equipment, and obscene verbal abuse against men and women journalists and photographers in an unprecedented way since the military coup,” said the newly-reformed union. SJS also affirmed its support for the Sudanese people’s calls for restoring freedom and democracy. 

Earlier this month, SJS condemned the “blatant violation and interference that stifles freedom of opinion and expression and freedom of the press” in Sudan, after a journalist allegedly received death threats from a member of the Rapid Support Forces. 

“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 on September 25. In the statement, 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 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.   

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