March 20, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese minister for culture and information, Ahmed Bilal Osman, disclosed that his ministry attempted to hire public relations experts holding US citizenship to work as consultants for improving Sudan’s negative image in foreign media.
- Sudanese minister for culture and information Ahmed Bilal Osman (ASHRAF SHAZLY/AFP/Getty Images)
Osman, who was addressing a forum on the modern trends in media management, public relations, and protocol, organised by the Federal Centre for Research and Capacity Building, said that they had asked a group of Jordanians holding American citizenship to conduct studies aimed at improving Sudan’s image in foreign media.
However, the group asked for a substantial cash payment in exchange for their services for which the ministry of finance was unable to offer.
The minister underscored the need to direct more efforts into the information and public relations sector in order to improve the image of Sudan abroad, in addition to enhancing official awareness about the importance of public relations which he acknowledged that the government had neglected for a long time.
The Sudanese government frequently complains about unfair coverage particularly in Western media.
News about the Darfur conflict, which erupted in 2003, made headlines around the world for several years.
In 2008, the United Nations said some 300,000 people may have died in Darfur’s war, which the US unilaterally labelled as genocide. The government has put the official death toll at around 10,000.
Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of genocide and war crimes in Darfur. Khartoum dismisses the court as an agent of Western neo-imperialism.