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Tuesday 20th March 2018

Journalists Demonstrate in Khartoum Calling for Freedom of Press


7Dnews London

Tue, 26 Mar 2019 00:45 GMT

Dozens of journalists in Sudan protested in Khartoum on Monday to demand an end to a crackdown on freedom of press amid the biggest challenge to Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir since he rose to power in a 1989 military coup.

Protesters have been on the streets since December 19. The protests began after bread prices surged which resulted in a lack of financial liquidity but developed into demonstrations against Bashir and his ruling National Congress Party (NCP).

Protesters today carried a large banner reading "Free Press or No Press" and marched on the main street in the Sudanese capital. Chanting "People's Voice Press".

Since the start of the wave of demonstrations, 90 journalists have been arrested, according to the network of Sudanese journalists, an anti-government group that organised a protest today. Most of them were released, the network said.

CPJ says the number of arrests has been unprecedented but it is impossible to give a precise figure because the authorities arrest journalists and then release them with more than one journalist.

The Committee to Protect Journalists also said Sudanese authorities tried to censor news coverage of protests and blocked widespread social networking sites.

Sudan's information ministry told Reuters the press freedom situation in Sudan was good.

"There are newspapers of opposition parties issued in Khartoum and the freedom to demonstrate is guaranteed by the constitution and the law," said Information Minister Hassan Ismail. "There is no political crisis in Sudan, but there is an economic crisis," he said.

Al-Bashir dissolved the central government last month, appointed security officials to replace state governors, expanded police powers and banned unauthorised protests. But this did not prevent the protesters from taking to the streets.

Middle East Africa