02-December-2021

President orders release of all detained journalists, calling for a responsible freedom of expression

By: Ahmed Alhaj (Site Admin)


Khartoum, Sudan (sudanow.info.sd) -Sudan's President Omar Bashir has ordered the release of all journalists detained for political reasons, and those currently being tried, receiving an outstanding ovation from journalists attending a late evening Saturday function in Khartoum.


"We take this measure in honor of the freedom of the press. What we need is a free and responsible press" the president, Bashir, told journalist evening Saturday while attending a gathering organized by the independent daily Al khabar in Khartoum.


There no specific figure as to how many journalists were detained at the time Bashir announced his amnesty. But it is known that at least six journalists working with the Netherland-based Radio Dabanga, were detained along with a number of administrators on charges of collaborating with armed rebel movements in Darfur.


The most prominent among them was Gaffar Al Sabaki. Sabki works for the independent daily Al Sahafa as well. Another journalist released just two days ago was Abu Zarr, Al Amin, a journalist with Rai Al Shaab daily, affiliated to the opposition Popular National Congress Party of Dr Hassan Turabi, the Islamist President orders release of all detained journalists, calling for a responsible freedom of expression


Khartoum, Sudan (sudanow.info.sd) -Sudan's President Omar Bashir has ordered the release of all journalists detained for political reasons, and those currently being tried, receiving an outstanding ovation from journalists attending a late evening Saturday function in Khartoum.


"We take this measure in honor of the freedom of the press. What we need is a free and responsible press" the president, Bashir, told journalist evening Saturday while attending a gathering organized by the independent daily Al khabar in Khartoum.


There no specific figure as to how m any journalists were detained at the time Bashir announced his amnesty. But it is known that at least six journalists working with the Netherland-based Radio Dabanga, were detained along with a number of administrators on charges of collaborating with armed rebel movements in Darfur.


The most prominent among them was Gaffar Al Sabaki. Sabki works for the independent daily Al Sahafa as well. Another journalist released just two days ago was Abu Zarr, Al Amin, a journalist with Rai Al Shaab daily, affiliated to the Popular National Congress Party of Dr Hassan Turabi, the Islamist who once was the mentor of the current regime.


"Whatever be the case we think journalists should not be detained and those who feel they have any grievance should to ordinary court of law and get that situation corrected. We don’t think journalists are angels who make no mistake. They do. When such a mistake happen, let the affected person go to the court, "the Secretary General of the Sudanese journalists union, Fatih Sayed said on Sunday.


Over five thousand journalists are currently registered with the Sudanese Journalists Union, working for 54 daily, political, economic, social and sport newspapers, mostly based in Khartoum state, central Sudan.


Since early this year the government lifted a pre-printing censorship where the newspapers have to be approved by a government official, mostly security officer, before it goes to the print, to make sure that there was nothing harmful to the national interest.


However the current laws still allow the government to confiscate any newspaper before it goes to the public, without giving any justification as to why the move was taken.


"This is a very positive step and we would like to see more overture and we would hope that this grace would cover all fields and that if there are any other detainees in other professions, they would also be freed." The Secretary General said.


Last week the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) had issued a statement saying it was disturbed by the continued violations of press freedom in Sudan, saying that In August, Sudanese security services confiscated two newspapers, while the parliament was getting ready to approve a new law with possibly more restrictions.


"We hope this will not be the case, we hope to see more freedom. We are actually working to see that any paper and any journalist should be tried by the civil laws" Fatih Al Sayed said.


However, Sudanese daily newspaper, especially the sports and social daily tend to tilt for excitement at the expense of professionalism, drawing criticism from both the government and from their peers in the political and economic domains who appear more professional.


"The performance of the sports newspapers is a direct threat for the security and safety of the society" The Sudanese National Council  for  Press and Publication has threatened on Sunday. He National Council, is the official regulatory body that issues authorization for papers and correspondents. Without its authorization, newspapers or correspondents of foreign media could not operate in the Sudan. It is also the body that has the right to withdraw such an authorization.


It is not clear what the council means but the sports daily in Khartoum are usually known to go to the limit of the law in defamation and in publishes stories that go to the line of defamation and obscenity.


It is expected that the council will move in to decide freezing a number of them, on professional ground, thus taking with the left hand what the president gave with the right hand.


"we are against the principle of putting a journalist in prison or banning a newspaper for whatever reasons, if the sitting law says so that is okay" the Secretary General said.


But observers could tell that there is a huge progress in the press freedom in Khartoum at present compared to the early nineties when journalists were surrounded with hosts of thorny areas that no one writing an article in the morning would guarantee staying out in the evening, if it touches anything related to the war in the south of the country.


At the time there only about seven to eleven daily newspapers, mostly sports and social, compared to 54 at present, and only a couple of journalists detained and released as quickly as possible.


"let us hope that this freedom will embrace every detainee anywhere in our country." Fatih said.


End


M,o

Sudanow is the longest serving English speaking magazine in the Sudan. It is chartarized by its high quality professional journalism, focusing on political, social, economic, cultural and sport developments in the Sudan. Sudanow provides in depth analysis of these developments by academia, highly ...

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