By Julius N. Uma
November 3, 2010 (JUBA) — Southern Sudan Union of Journalists (SSUJ) has condemned Khartoum government’s decision to ban an English daily newspaper from circulation for one day.
Media reports say Sudanese National Security Council (SNSC) issued a one-day ban on The Citizen newspaper, for its’s November 1 issue, after the paper published an advert, which authorities alleged contravened Islamic Sharia law.
The advert was for a talent contest sponsored by Kenyan beer brand Tusker.
Sudan has been governed by Sharia Law, Since 1983, but after a 2005 peace deal South Sudan has been run by a secular government, which allows alcohol to be sold and advertised.
The SSUJ Chairperson told journalists that such a move violated media freedom and the right to access information. He also called for complete amendment of the law, describing it as “obsolete and not serving public interest”.
Nhial Bol, the Managing Editor of The Citizen also condemned the decision, urging the council to put the warning in writing to be used as a reference.
He told Sudan Tribune, “This is not the first time we are being suspended from operation. They [Khartoum government] have done this over 30 times and we are not surprised by such decisions.”
Over the weekend the Sudanese government in Khartoum detained a journalist and confiscated equipment from Radio Dabanga, which cover news from the trouble region of Darfur.
SSUJ offices get major uplift
On Wednesday, however, it was all smiles as members of Southern Sudan Union of Journalists (SSUJ) received an assortment of office items, which included five desktop computers, a printer and photocopier, courtesy of the Juba-based Egyptian consulate.
Moayad Elbalie, the Egyptian Consul General, during the handover ceremony lauded the media fraternity for playing positive roles in creating awareness among the members of the community.
He appealed to members of the union of journalists to adhere to professional codes of conduct and ethics that guide the media, through balanced, fair and objective reporting.
The Egyptian Government, he said, will continue supporting journalist through providing trainings. Earlier this year, some journalists from Southern Sudan benefitted from a similar training organized by the Egyptian Consulate in collaboration with the Information and Broadcasting Ministry in the southern government.
Peter Bongiri, SSUJ Chairperson thanked the Egyptian government for extending valuable support to the media, while reiterating the union’s commitment to promoting positive journalism in the region and beyond.
Formed early this year as a result of complaints from journalists who were being harassed and intimidated, SSUJ has emerged as a force to reckon with; striving to champion justice and equality for all media entities.