News from Khartoum
Journalists boycott parliament sessions
Journalists who cover the activities of the Parliament have decided to boycott Parliament sessions for two days to protest the continued prohibition of journalist Ms. Hiba Obaid from performing her work in the Parliament. The Sudanese Women Journalists described the exclusion of Ms Hiba from the Parliament’s coverage as discrimination against female journalists. They criticized the agreement of Al Intibaha editorial board to the request of the Parliament to send another journalist to replace Ms Hiba.
A statement by journalists, published on the site of the Justice and Equality Movement, considered the parliament’s decision as a step to restrict journalists to prevent the dissemination of what is going on within the Parliament to the public opinion. The statement said that Article (34/1) of the Regulations regulating the work of the Parliament for 2015, amended 2017, provides that the meetings of the National Assembly should be public and may be attended by the public and transmitted by means of public dissemination, except in cases where the Speaker or the Council 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 discussion of the subject before the Council at a secret meeting. In a related development, the parliament journalists submitted a memo of protest to the Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Ibrahim Ahmed Omer, and President of the Union of Sudanese journalists Mr. Al Sadiq Al Rizeigi.
In the same context, the female journalist association called on the National Assembly and the editorial board of Al Intibaha newspaper to apologize to their colleague Ms. Hiba and accredit her as a delegate of the newspaper to cover the news of the parliament.
It is to be noted that Ms. Hiba has written a report on the purchase by parliament of screens worth SDG9 million to monitor deputies in the session and for presenting reports of the ministries. She said in the news that some of the employees of the parliament rejected the matter, saying the money should have been used to improve their conditions. Because of this news item, the parliament management sent a letter to the reception of the House premises asking security to prevent Ms. Hiba from entering the parliament and also requested Al Intibaha newspaper to replace Hiba and the former responded.
Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights provides: “every one shall have the right to hold opinions without interference. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice”.