Sudan: Newspaper ceases publication due to press restrictions

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Khartoum — Sudan’s El Hadatha newspaper announced on Saturday that it would cease publication due to growing media repression. The United States Embassy in Khartoum on Saturday denounced the closure of the Al Jazeera Live channel by the Ministry of Information. Journalists say withdrawing the channel’s license is illegal.

Editor-in-chief Shamseldin Dawelbeit said in an interview with Radio Dabanga on Sunday that the daily’s management had suspended publication since the October 25 military coup in protest against the government chief’s seizure of power. army and sovereignty. The head of the council, General Abdelfattah El Burhan.

El Hadatha management monitored developments before making a final decision, the editor said. “The coup put an end to the freedoms of the press and the media brought about by the glorious December Revolution.”

He referred to “attacks by heavily armed military formations on newspaper offices and other media institutions, the continued assaults on journalists and correspondents, the confiscation of their property, their detention and intimidation, and the withdrawal licenses.

“The current conditions do not allow the newspaper to fulfill its professional duty and its responsibilities towards the December Revolution,” Dawelbeit explained. “We are no longer allowed to continue our editorial policies based on dealing with transitional and fundamental issues with the new forces of change, so we have been forced to stop.”

Al Jazeera Live closed

On Saturday, the Sudanese Ministry of Information and Culture withdrew the license of the Al Jazeera Live channel. In response, the US Embassy in Khartoum tweeted that “the revocation of Al Jazeera’s license is a step backwards for press freedom, a cornerstone of democratic transition.”

The Al Jazeera news channel on Sunday asked the Sudanese authorities to return the license of the licensed channel Al Jazeera Live so that it can “continue its journalistic work without hindrance or intimidation”.

Journalist Hosameldin Haydar, former secretary general of the Sudanese Press and Publications Council, told Radio Dabanga yesterday in an interview that the decision to shut down the channel was not based on objective grounds. “It’s an extension of the putschists’ relationship with the media,” he said.

Haydar confirmed that the decision to withdraw the license of Al Jazeera Live channel issued by the Acting Undersecretary of the Ministry of Information and Culture is in violation of the Press and Publications Act 2009.

“The licensing of satellite channels and the regulation of their work are not under the authority of the Ministry of Information and Culture, but are within the competence of the Press and Publications Council which is independent of the ministry in all its powers,” he explained.

Haydar condemned the numerous press freedom violations after the October 25 coup. The latest developments “show that the authorities are fed up with the work of journalists, correspondents and media institutions”.

Al Jazeera Live (part of the broader Al Jazeera news network, which continues to be active in the country), has been broadcasting live coverage of the mass protests and ongoing civil disobedience across Sudan since the October 25 military coup. The putschists have consistently tried to limit coverage of the protests by blocking internet and mobile phone traffic in Sudan. At least 64 protesters have been shot dead, mortally injured by tear gas canisters or excessive beatings since the coup.

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