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Khartoum Monitor reprimanded after complaint by Foreign Ministry

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Oct 30, 2006 (KHARTOUM) — On 16 September 2006, the Foreign Ministry lodged a complaint to the effect that the newspaper had published an article dated 14 September 2006, issue No. 1004, page 4, entitled - Lam Akol fails in mission to USA - and the said article claimed that the foreign minister, state minister for foreign affairs and the director of information and public relations are mouthpieces and perpetrators of genocide as well as Islamic extremists etc

The complaint stated that the content of the said article was a blatant deviation from the laws and rules of news coverage, and also a violation of press covenant of honour and used offensive language against the leaders of the foreign ministry and its staff.

The editor-in-chief, Alfred Taban, was summoned and stated that he was liable for the content of the article in accordance with article 27 of Press and Publications Act 2004 and argued that the article was general criticism and personal opinion of its author. He added that many a web site had carried a list of 51 persons against whom the said charges were raised, and that the writer of the article read the list particularly given that Darfur problem is a public problem that had been covered by newspapers and all media agencies.

The committee deliberated on the complaint and the statement of the editor-in-chief, read the said article and decided the following:

The article contained inappropriate phrases and was published by a political newspaper read by broad sectors of society, and it also contained clear violations of legal determinants as well as exceeding the proper bounds of public criticism given that the present time requires selectivity with respect to topics and phrases.

Due to the aforementioned, the committee sees that the newspaper has violated the letter and spirit of article (29) (1-E) of Press and Publications Act, 2004, and therefore has unanimously decided:

- To impose the penalty of published reprimand in accordance with article (36) (1-F) of the Press and Publications Act, 2004
- The published reprimand shall be put into effect within 72 hours.

Abdallah Mohamed Ali Alardab, Committee Chairman, Rihab Mubarak Hassan, member and rapporteur of the committee and legal counsellor.

(Khartoum Monitor)

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