News from Khartoum
Daily newspaper agrees to ban journalist from covering parliament sessions
In Intibaha newspaper, which is headed by Editor-in-Chief Mr. Al Sadiq Al Rizeigi, faced widespread criticism after it had responded to a parliament’s request to send an alternative journalist to replace journalist Ms. Hiba Obeid after she was prevented from covering the Parliament activities.
The Sudanese Female Journalists Association expressed deep concern over the position of the Editorial Board of Al Intibaha newspaper and considered the action against their colleagues as exclusion and discrimination against female journalists.
The Association appealed to the National Assembly and the Editorial Board of Al-Intibaha newspaper to apologize to their colleague Ms. Hiba and reinstate her as the newspaper’s delegate for covering the parliament’s activities.
In solidarity with journalist Ms. Hiba, newspaper delegates in the Sudanese parliament announced a boycott of coverage of the activities of the National Assembly for two days in protest against the continued prevention of journalist Ms. Hiba Obaid from performing her work in the parliament. A statement by the press representatives in the parliament described the step as a drive by parliament management to impose restrictions on journalists to prevent the dissemination to the public opinion of what is going on inside the Parliament.
The newspaper representatives submitted a memorandum of protest to the Speaker of the Parliament Mr. Ibrahim Ahmad Omer, and a similar petition to the president of the Union of Sudanese Journalists Mr. Al Sadiq Al Rizeigi.
Article (34/1) of the Regulations of the Work of the Parliament 2015, amended 2017, stipulates that: the meetings of the National Assembly shall be open and may be attended by the public and shall be transmitted by public means of dissemination and publication, except in cases where the President or the Assembly decides otherwise , at the request of the President of the Republic or any of the ministers or by a procedural motion from any member, that the public interest requires that the subject before the House be discussed in secret.
Ms. Hiba had written a news story to the effect that the parliament bought screens at SDG 9 million to monitor the MPs in sessions and for presenting reports of the ministries. She mentioned that some officials of the parliament rejected the matter, saying the priority is that the money should be used to improve their conditions. Because of publication of this news, the Parliament sent a letter to the security at the House Reception to prevent Ms. Hiba from entering the parliament premises. They asked Al Intibaha newspaper to replace its representative in the parliament and the newspaper responded accordingly.
It is to be noted that the Chief Editor of Al Intibaha is Mr. Al Sadiq Al Rizeigi who is also the president of the Union of Sudanese Journalists.
It is to be noted that the Sudan, which restricts the freedom of expression, is signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 19 states that: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers”.
Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights provides for the rights to freedom of expression: “Everyone has the right to hold opinions without interference. The Sudanese Constitution also provides that the State shall guarantee the freedom of the press and other media as regulated by law in a democratic society”.