Al Jazeera says Sudan withdraws journalists' work permits

Sudanese authorities have cracked down on Arabic-language foreign media working inside the country, news channels said, as major protests against President Omar al-Bashir enter their second month.

Qatari satellite broadcaster Al Jazeera said that its correspondents in Sudan had their work permits withdrawn by security officials, while its Saudi competitor Al Arabiya said its correspondent had his permit revoked as well.

Both channels have been reporting on the unrest despite a media blackout by authorities, who firmly control the press. The tumult began in earnest on December 19 over skyrocketing prices and a failing economy, but has led to calls for the autocratic ruler's removal.

In a statement late on Monday on the Arabic-language Facebook page of its Sudanese channel, Al Jazeera said its Khartoum office was told the decision was made after a review of the work of Osama Ahmed and Ahmed Alrehaid, as well as cameraman Badawi Bashir.

It later denounced the move in a statement from its main press office, calling the decision "arbitrary" and saying it "lacks any credible justification and contradicts the basic norms of press freedom."

"Al Jazeera Media Network expresses its demand to the Sudanese authorities to reinstate the accreditation of our colleagues at the earliest to enable them to carry out their duties safely and without intimidation, as we believe that Journalism is not a Crime," it said, adding that its work in Sudan would continue.

The channel says that the men had previously had their permits approved for 2019 by the government Press Council.

Al Arabiya announced its sanctioning in a tweet also on Monday, saying authorities had stopped correspondent Saad Eddin Hassan from working and withdrawn his permit.

Both Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya have broadcast footage from the protests, which have arisen in cities across the country and especially in and around the capital Khartoum, sometimes live.

Al Jazeera in particular is feared by autocrats in the region for the role it played in the 2011 Arab Spring revolts, when it covered protests and pro-democracy movements up close, introducing notions of freedom of speech and assembly to Arab-speaking publics long cowed by authoritarian rulers.

It is now banned, with varying degrees of success, in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and other areas.

Sign up to News24's top Africa news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO THE HELLO AFRICA NEWSLETTER

FOLLOW News24 Africa on Twitter and Facebook

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
Matric results are out! Are you happy with your child's result?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
No, the pandemic really messed up their ability to focus
32% - 385 votes
Yes, they did well given the circumstances
68% - 803 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
15.26
-1.0%
Rand - Pound
20.55
-0.3%
Rand - Euro
17.23
-0.5%
Rand - Aus dollar
10.85
-0.1%
Rand - Yen
0.13
-0.7%
Gold
1,833.27
-0.1%
Silver
23.76
-2.2%
Palladium
2,149.00
+1.8%
Platinum
1,021.50
-1.2%
Brent Crude
87.89
-0.6%
Top 40
66,018
-3.2%
All Share
72,539
-3.1%
Resource 10
71,940
-4.0%
Industrial 25
91,501
-2.8%
Financial 15
14,737
-2.3%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE