Sudan: Journalists protest attacks on press freedom

Issue 

As the world marked World Press Freedom Day on May 3, an annual day declared by the UN General Assembly, Sudanese journalists had no reason to celebrate.

They spent the day just like many before it, fighting against censorship and calling for press freedom.

Journalists working for Al-Jareeda, an independent daily based in Khartoum, headed to the Sudanese Journalist’s Union to stage a silent sit-in.

On May 1 and 2, Al-Jareeda was taken over by the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) of Sudan.

Since its inception in 2010, Al-Jareeda has been known to feature all voices and for its good coverage of issues affecting people in states beyond Khartoum state, where the capital lies.

It has faced many problems for its work, ranging from regular confiscations, pressure on the administration to fire certain columnists for their controversial work and a three-month suspension by the NISS at the end of last year.

Many journalists, editors and activists also gathered on May 3 for a workshop spearheaded by Al-Midan, the mouthpiece of the Sudanese Communist Party, to celebrate the memory of its veteran editor, the late Al-Tijani Al-Tayeb.

The editor-in-chief of Al-Midan, Madiha Abdullah (the only female editor in Sudan), told the audience the paper had been raided that day.

So far, Al-Midan, which is issued three times a week, has been taken over by security forces 11 times this month.

A UNESCO report published on World Press Freedom Day last year ranked Sudan 40 out of 48 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa for press freedom.

[Abridged from CH16.org. Reema Abbas is a Sudanese freelance journalist and blogger at Wholeheartedly Sudaniya.]

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