As the world marked World Press Freedom Day 2022 on Wednesday, the journalists and media professionals in Sudan cry out for their voice to be heard in an increasingly restrictive and intimidating, and lethally dangerous environment.
In a statement to mark World Press Freedom Day 2022, which this year carries the theme ‘Journalism under digital siege’, Sudan’s Journalists Association for Human Rights (JAHR) laments that “our country, our people, and press freedom – in particular – are under a complete and comprehensive siege – digital and non-digital – on all media outlets. In its various forms, audio, visual and print, imposed by the October 25, 2021 coup, on freedom of the press and expression, which constitutes the cornerstone and the real guarantee of all other freedoms and rights.”
JAHR highlights that World Press Freedom Day is dedicated to shedding light on issues related to the impact of technological monitoring and surveillance on press freedom and freedom of expression, the right to information, data protection and privacy, and transparency issues. It addressed issues of media freedom, spyware, safety of journalists, and the right to privacy in the digital age, in addition to addressing issues of media freedom, transparency, and protection of sources, with the aim of addressing the threats posed by increased surveillance on press freedom and privacy.
The association asserts that the October 25, 2021 coup created in the country a climate of increasing repression against freedom of the press and expression, and targeted journalists openly and blatantly, reaching the stage of storming media institutions, destroying their working tools, arresting male and female journalists, practicing verbal, physical and psychological violence against male and female journalists, blatantly infringing on their personal belongings, and preventing them from carrying out their professional duties to cover the peaceful demonstrations, processions and marches rejecting the coup.
The association says: “We pledge our people, and our journalistic community, to continue the bold struggle, with all the living forces, to achieve the goals, values, and slogans of the glorious December revolution, to defeat the coup, and defeat it, through the weapon of peace and the weapon of the word, and to raise the banners of truth journalism…”
Sudanese Journalists Network
In another statement, the Sudanese Journalists Network “salutes all colleagues on the 3rd of May World Press Freedom Day, the bell that rings on the 3rd of May every year to remind governments of the need to fulfil their commitments towards press freedom, and to give media workers the opportunity to reflect on issues of press freedom and professional ethics. . It is also an occasion to stand in solidarity with press freedoms and the suppressed media and stand by them.
On this day, the Journalists’ Network salutes journalists around the world who have given their lives in the pursuit of their professional duty and towards their communities.”
The Preparatory Committee of the Sudanese Journalists Syndicate
On their May 3 statement, the Preliminary Committee of the Sudanese Journalists Syndicate says that “the glorious December revolution dazzled the world with its peace and strength in order to adhere to the slogan of freedom, peace and justice, to become a guide for the free people of the world for liberation, and liberation from the tyranny of tyrannical, tyrannical regimes.
“The revolution witnessed the effectiveness of female journalists and journalists, since the beginning of the December 2018 revolution, to document the historical moments, which are recorded in the newspapers of the revolutionary popular struggle, which led to a number of injuries, as well as the recording of several violations against journalists as a result of the excessive violence faced by the demonstrators.”
The committee laments that after the coup, the situation of public freedoms deteriorated and press freedoms declined with it, which led to the occurrence of a number of violations that were monitored by human rights organizations and bodies, including injuries with live and rubber bullets, in addition to physical assault, repeated prosecutions and arrests of journalists, and storming, assaulting and destroying media institutions. and confiscation of work equipment.
In light of the coup, the total number of violations that occurred exceeded one hundred incidents, while some journalists are still receiving treatment in hospitals, so far, including cases of permanent injuries.
“The deteriorating and tragic economic conditions cast a shadow on the male and female journalists, causing the majority of them to live below the poverty line and others preferred to leave the profession, in order to live a decent life.
“If there is a message for everyone, we urge the press base to unite and work together to establish the Journalists Syndicate, the dream that was looted for three decades to defend the profession and its workers.”
* Every year, May 3 is a date which celebrates the fundamental principles of press freedom, to evaluate press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession. World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1993 following a Recommendation adopted at the twenty-sixth session of UNESCO’s General Conference in 1991. This in turn was a response to a call by African journalists who in 1991 produced the landmark Windhoek Declaration(link is external) sur le pluralisme on media pluralism and independence.
At the core of UNESCO’s mandate is freedom of the press and freedom of expression. UNESCO believes that these freedoms allow for mutual understanding to build a sustainable peace.
It serves as an occasion to inform citizens of violations of press freedom – a reminder that in dozens of countries around the world, publications are censored, fined, suspended and closed down, while journalists, editors and publishers are harassed, attacked, detained and even murdered.
It is a date to encourage and develop initiatives in favour of press freedom, and to assess the state of press freedom worldwide. (Source: UNESCO)