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Hard Criticism Against the New Press a Law

Journalists and activists strongly criticized the Press Law approved by the Council of Minsters, which included banning journalists from writing and expansion of powers of the Press and Publications Council.

Journalists expressed concerns about the law’s targeting of electronic press/journalism for the powerful role it has it has played as a future alternative to traditional journalism.

Journalists for Human Rights/(Jahr) organisation mentioned that the law imposes punishment upon writers and journalists rather than publishers. Mr. Faisal Al-Baqir, General Coordinator of Journalists for Human Rights/(Jahr) warned through Dabanga Radio that the approval of the law will lead journalists to practice inter-supervision which completely disregards the press of its meaning and shuts down the voices of criticism. Al-Baqir added that the current law comes within the context of preparations for 2020 elections; and that the government is working on preparing a set of freedom limiting and restriction laws in addition to the constitution – all of which as part of the completion of the model of the totalitarian state governed by a security driven mentality. He also added that law included a project aimed at joining Sudanese newspapers, which will tighten the government’s grip on the press and journalism; he expressed his complete trust in the journalistic community and its ability to defeat the law. Moreover, he urged journalists to unite in the biggest front and widen the resistance, all to be aimed at fighting and cancelling the new current law.

Board of ministers approved the Press and Journalistic Publications Law (Amendment of 2018), which adds more new authorities such as: banning journalists from writing and withdrawal of license.

Official spokesperson of board of ministers Omer Mohamed Salih said that the general characteristics of the amendment included the amending of the definition of the work “Newspaper,” in order to include electronic journalism.

It is important to mention that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, of which Sudan approved, states in Article (19): “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression…” and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights stated in Article (19) that: “Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression…”

Also, Sudanese Constitution states in Article 39-(1) that: Every citizen shall have an unrestricted right to the freedom of expression, reception of information, publication and access to the press without prejudice to order, safety or public morals as determined by law. The state shall guarantee the freedom of the press and other media…”

Source: Dabanga Sudan