August 14, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – A Sudanese official has expressed dissatisfaction with the existence of virtual newspapers and media outlets operating without regulation from the state, warning that they represent “a challenge to journalism”.
- A screen shot of a website blocked in Sudan (http://advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org)
Samia Mohammed Ahmad MP, the female deputy speaker of the Sudanese parliament, told reporters in the capital Khartoum on Tuesday that the most potent challenge to journalism in the country is “the existence of virtual media outlets which are not subject to any regulations or laws of journalism.”
Her statement comes after the country already blocked a number of foreign-based media websites in the wake of anti-government protests in June. The websites blocked include www.sudaneseonline.com, a famous web forum with more than 6000 members, http://www.alrakoba.net/, an Arabic-language news website, and the Kampala-based http://www.hurriyatsudan.com/, which is an Arabic-language newspaper critical of the government.
Samia charged that online newspapers “violate all standards of good journalism” and urged the authorities to exert greater efforts to “protect credibility of the press”.
The country’s National Telecommunication Corporation (NTC) is the official regulatory body of online-based media. According to the NTC website, the only websites blocked in the country are those “containing pornographic materials” or those promoting “drugs, weapons, alcohol, gambling and insults against Islam”.
Sudanese newspapers based within the country complain that they are subject to a variety of measures aimed at controlling their contents and preventing them from publishing anything that might interfere with government policies. Those measures include pre-publication censorship, confiscations, and deprivation from state adverts.
The country’s constitution, on the other hand, upholds freedom of press.