Group urges Sudanese president to free detained journalists

Tuesday January 29 2019

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. FILE |

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

JOSEPH ODUHA
By JOSEPH ODUHA
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The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has called on Sudanese authorities to release the journalists who were detained after covering the widespread protests calling on President Omar al-Bashir to resign.

"President Bashir's attempt to deflect the public's anger by smearing Sudan's brave journalists is both futile and shameful," the CPJ Middle East and North Africa Programme Coordinator, Mr Sheriff Mansour, said in a statement.

"Rounding up more journalists won't help authorities find a solution to the country's ongoing unrest," he added.

The detained journalists include Mr Tariq Ali, the Almidan Daily correspondent in Kosti, south of Khartoum, who was arrested on January 25, and editors Iman Osman, Musab Mohamed and Osama Hassan from the paper's Khartoum headquarters, who were locked up a day later, according to the CPJ findings.

Media crackdown

CPJ said that the Khartoum authorities continued with the media crackdown on Monday and arrested freelance reporters Adam Mahdi in Nyala, southwest of Khartoum, and Amin Sanada in Port Sudan, northeast of the capital.

President Bashir recently accused news outlets of inflating the sizes of the ongoing protests against his regime.

Since the protests began, the Sudanese authorities have attempted to stifle news coverage and disrupted access to the internet and social media networks, according to the CPJ documentation.

It further says the Sudan government has revoked credentials of at least six journalists working for international news outlets.

The Sudan unrest, now four weeks old, has also reverberated in the neighbouring South Sudan.

Nationwide calls

Juba has banned media houses from covering the turmoil, saying it was an internal problem for the neighbouring state.

Juba fears souring relations between presidents Salva Kiir and Bashir.

Sudan has been rocked by protests since December 19 after a government decision to triple the price of bread.

What started as rallies swiftly metamorphosed into nationwide calls for an end to President Bashir's three decades rule, with security forces brutally countering the protests.

Officials say 30 people have died in the violence, while rights groups put the death toll at more than 40 people.

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