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Sudanese journalists protest against draft press law

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Journalists participate in a sit-in outside the the National Council for Press and Publications headquarters in Khartoum to protest the repeated seizure of Al-Jareeda on 29 Dec 2016 (ST Photo)
November 15, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - Dozens of Sudanese journalists on Wednesday have protested in the capital, Khartoum against draft amendments to the 2009 Press and Publications Act.

Earlier this week, Sudan’s government-run National Council for Press and Publication (NCPP) introduced new amendments to the press law and asked journalists to discuss it ahead of its approval by the National Assembly.

However, the draft law was met with strong opposition from journalists including from the government-controlled Union of Sudanese Journalists (USJ).

The new draft puts greater restrictions on the freedom of the press. It allows the NCPP, which is the government regulatory body, to ban journalists from writing and newspapers from publishing indefinitely.

Dozens of journalists on Wednesday protested in front of the premises of NCPP in Khartoum and chanted “free press or no press”.

According to the protesters, the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) agents detained female journalist Shamael al-Nur during the protest before releasing her later on the day.

Sudan passed its current Press and Publication Act in April 2009 amid a storm of criticism by journalists who said the law only allows a semblance of freedom and imposes hefty financial penalties on individual journalists and newspapers.

The country’s security authorities routinely confiscate newspapers to prevent publication of information deemed sensitive despite the fact that the country’s constitution guarantees freedom of expression.

(ST)

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