Sudan journalists oppose new law curbing media freedom

2017-11-16 09:08


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Khartoum - Dozens of Sudanese journalists on Wednesday demonstrated in Khartoum against a proposed new press law that aims to tighten restrictions on media freedom in the African country.

"United Against the New Law" and "Free Press or No Press," read banners held up by demonstrators who say the bill empowers Sudan's press council to ban any journalist for an indefinite period if his writings oppose government policies.

The cabinet led by Prime Minister Bakri Hassan Saleh is examining the draft, which if passed would go to parliament for a final approval.

"The new law threatens the freedom of the press, and so we outright reject it," said Sadeq al-Rizeigat, head of the Sudan Journalists' Syndicate.

The new legislation would also allow the press council to ban a newspaper from publishing for 15 days without any court order, he said.

Sudan's existing press law requires the council to file for a court order if it wants to ban a newspaper for more than three days.

"The new proposals are not in line with international principles of freedom of expression," Rizeigat told AFP.

The proposed law is a "punishment" for journalists, who already operate in a restrictive environment, said prominent columnist Faisal Saleh.

"The press council has been given the right to cancel licences of journalists and newspapers... It shows that the government is angry with the media."

The National Council for Press and Publications (NCPP), the regulatory body supervised by President Omar al-Bashir himself, defended the draft law.

"We believe that the proposed law actually enhances press freedom," said Abdelkazim Awat, its secretary general.

"We believe that with freedom of expression also comes a sense of responsibility, and the new law aims to protect the people."

Sudanese authorities maintain a tight grip on the media.

The country's powerful National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) often confiscates entire print-runs of newspapers without giving a reason, particularly when they publish articles opposing government policies.

Arbitrary arrests and detention of journalists are common in Sudan, and access for journalists is tightly restricted to large parts of the country - mainly conflict zones like Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan states.

Global rights groups have often accused NISS of detaining journalists, human rights workers and opposition politicians.

Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) ranked Sudan 174th out of 180 countries on its 2017 world press freedom index, charging that the NISS "hounds journalists and censors the print media".

Read more on:    rsf  |  sudan  |  east africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.