Home | News    Tuesday 8 June 2010

Sudan to lift pre-publication censorship on two newspapers

June 7, 2010 (KHARTOUM) — The Sudanese General Union of Sudanese Journalists moderated a dialogue between the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) and two independent newspapers subject to pre-publication censorship and managed to lift it as a result, state media reported today.

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Demonstration by Sudanese Journalists Network at GoSS offices in Khartoum June, 7 2010 (SJN)

Sudan official news agency (SUNA) quoted the editors in chief of Al-Sahafa and Al-Sudani newspapers Al-Nur Ahmed Al-Nur and Mahjoub Erwa as giving "their absolute commitment on self and professional censorship and everything that threatens the stability of the country".

Al-Nur and Erwa concurred that the conditions of the country "necessitate consultation between them and the competent authorities so as to maintain stability in the country and the press sector in particular".

The Secretary general of the pro-government union Mohyideen Tetawi said that they will defend press freedom by all means but at the same time stressed that "the country’s sovereignty and dignity is a red line cannot be overstepped".

Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir last year lifted press censorship after petitions from the journalists’ union but warned editor in chiefs that they should “avoid what leads to exceeding the red lines and avoid mixing what is patriotic and what is destructive to the nation, sovereignty, security, values and its morality”.

Direct pre-publication censorship was reintroduced for two daily papers last month and on Saturday night four others also complained they were visited by Sudanese security forces who removed many pages of content.

On Sunday Ajras al-Hurriya paper, aligned to the former southern rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), suspended publication for one week in protest at censorship by authorities. Al-Midan, Another pro-communist newspaper, was not allowed to print for what appears to be in response to its coverage of the doctors’ strike underway.

Other papers said they were called and told not to write about the strike or the International Criminal Court (ICC), unless it was from a government source.

The ICC issued an arrest warrant for Bashir last year for war crimes during a brutal counter-insurgency campaign in Sudan’s western Darfur region, charges he rejects.

In a related issue a group of Sudanese journalists called on the President of Southern Sudan Government to release their detained colleagues and to investigate the unconstitutional arrest.

The Sudanese Journalists Network which includes hundreds of independent journalists organized a protest on Monday outside the office of the regional government of Southern Sudan in Khartoum to protest against the detention of journalists from Southern Sudan Radio and Television stations last May.

Last May security members arrested journalists from the two official media organs after their strike on the delayed payment of their 12-month arrears of housing allowances.

(ST)