January 25, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – Sudanese authorities informed the Popular Congress Party (PCP) that they decided to lift the ban on their newspaper known as Ra’y al-Sha’b which has been in place since January 2012.
- A Sudanese man reads a newspaper as he waits to pay at a kiosk in the capital Khartoum (AFP)
The PCP political secretary Kamal Omar Abdel-Salam called the move an important one but demanded the reinstatement of full freedoms to all political forces and the media.
He stressed that the newspaper will resume publication without preconditions and adopt the same editorial line it had before the ban was imposed.
The paper was a usual target of the security crackdown over the years and was suspended several times and also saw its copies seized before distribution.
The PCP split from the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) following 1999’s bitter power struggle between president Omer Hassan al-Bashir and the Islamist leader Hassan Al-Turabi. The latter was ousted from his post as parliament speaker.
Al-Turabi afterwards established the PCP and has since been a vociferous critic of the very regime whose army-backed seizure of power in 1989 he orchestrated.
It is not clear what prompted the decision but NCP sources this month revealed that the party is planning to announce new measures related to the media sector which would remove many restrictions that were in place.
Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) routinely seizes newspapers after publication and shut down others while imposing pre-publication censorship to prevent dailies from addressing certain political, military and security issues.
Dozens of columnists were also banned from writing in newspapers under NISS orders.
The NISS intensified its crackdown on press in the country, introducing tough new measures to prevent media outlets from covering recent anti-government protests, which erupted last September following the lifting of subsidies on fuel.