News from Khartoum
Journalists resort to working as drivers due to ban
The security authorities prevented journalist Abdul Bagi Al Zafir from practicing journalism for an indefinite period because of his opposition to amending the constitution and reelection of President Omer Al Bashir for a new term. The journalist had to resort to working as a driver with Tirhal, a Limousine Company similar to “Uber Company”.
Mr. Al Zafir is not the only one to go through this; there are many journalists, activists and civil society representatives who have been harassed, with some forced to resort to occupations not related to their profession, and others forced by the circumstances of the profession and the losses suffered by the press companies to search for alternatives opportunities besides journalism. “I personally have not been stopped form working as a journalist, but I worked as a driver for Tirhal Company” in an effort to cater to the needs of my family,” journalist Mohammed Adam told Al Hurra Channel.
The Sudanese authorities, represented by NISS, have imposed unprecedented restrictions on the press and journalists. Over the past ten years, the press has become a profession that does not achieve the material or moral stability of its employees and because of the harassment, the ban and the confiscation of newspapers, the press market experienced recession and newspapers suffered bankruptcy because of not receiving advertisements for publishing in addition to poor distribution. The journalists who have been suspended by the order of security have to manage to meet the obligations of daily life towards their families, so it was impossible for them to stay without work; they resorted to new occupations which may be seen by some as inconsistent with their academic or social status.
Sudan ranks 174 out of 180 countries in Reporters Without Borders’ press freedom index of 2018.
It is to be noted that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, ratified by the Sudan, stipulates in Article 19 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 states: Everyone 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.
Article 39 (1) of the Sudanese Constitution provides: Every citizen shall have an unrestricted right to the freedom of expression, reception and dissemination 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 as shall be regulated by law in a democratic society. All media shall abide by professional ethics, shall refrain from inciting religious, ethnic, racial or cultural hatred and shall not agitate for violence or war.