Sudan suspends BBC broadcasts

2010-08-09 10:00

Khartoum - Sudan halted Monday BBC broadcasts in Arabic on FM radio frequencies after suspending its agreement with the British public broadcaster for reasons it said had nothing to do with its newscasts.

In a statement carried by the official Suna news agency late on Sunday, the information ministry alleged that the BBC had imported technical equipment via British diplomatic courier.

Shortly after midnight, the BBC broadcasts on FM radio in the Sudanese capital could no longer be heard while other stations were operating normally.

The information ministry also took the BBC to task for training schemes in the absence of a "final agreement" with Khartoum, and for broadcasting in the southern Sudanese capital Juba without central government approval.

"The suspension has no connection at all with news broadcast by the BBC from Sudan," the statement said.

With four broadcasting locations inside Sudan, plus shortwave services, the BBC is a major source of news in Sudan, the biggest country in Africa whose population of 40 million mostly speak Arabic.