Home | Comment & Analysis    Thursday 15 September 2005

Don’t write we were told


By Michael Koma, The Khartoum Monitor

September 14, 2005 — The so called National Press Council (NPC) has decided to shut up the mouth of journalists; or writers, the council claimed, were not registered with them. I was shown a piece of that decision yesterday. Unfortunately, the council did not advanced a logical reason that can convince us in the press. It simply said that writers or journalists who were not registered under the council should stop writing. And that was all. This type of unilateral and dictatorial decision is not the first and it will not be the last.

The NPC has no right to stop the Sudanese people from talking or airing out their views. The right to write a piece of an opinion in a newspaper is contained in the interim national constitution of the republic of the Sudan.

The constitution has guaranteed the freedom of speech to the people of the Sudan; who are those individuals in the NPC to break the supreme law? After the signing of the comprehensive peace agreement, we thought the NPC will change its autocratic system and would open up its doors to emerging writers and journalists to develop their skills and talents; but they are on the same path.

The NPC should halt trailing behind the totalitarian system. That decision by the NPC to silence some unregistered pen, mainly targets those who are in the English language press. Generally it has nothing to do with Arabic speaking newspapers. Everytime when there are hot topics under debate in the press or on the general political theatre, the NPC comes up with [an] awkward decision to mute outspoken journalists. And the most critical and outspoken newspaper in Sudan today is the Khartoum Monitor.

This paper since it was established in 23 September 2000, has been impartial. The paper defended and fought vigorously for the cause of peace until it was realized. Hence, it will be a silly move for journalists or writers contributing informative columns or opinions on national issues to be simply put off by an administrative decision.

Before the NPC implement its decision to silence this vocal journalist, we are appealing to the comrades-in-pen to protest such move. One also appealed to the SPLM leadership to demand the movement share in this council. This council is a national institution similar to the ministry of energy and mining or the finance ministry. The SPLM should not give up its 37 percent of the power sharing agreement in the national institutions.

The participation of the SPLM in the NPC administration will stop twisting the hands of southern Sudanese journalists. This NPC humiliation must stop.

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