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Parliament Allows Only Governmental Media to Cover its Activities

The Parliament issued a decree allowing only National Radio and Television, Sudan News Agency as well as Al-Shorouq, Sudania 24 and Khartoum television channels to cover its activities while prohibited newspapers’ and foreign news agencies’ correspondents from entering the building of the Parliament as well as covering its activities. The press/journalism directorate of the Parliament regarded this step as a step towards setting new regulations for dealing with press institutions’ representatives and correspondents in a way that considers the sensitivity of the press and journalistic work as well as the nature of the work of the Parliament’s committees.

Press Directorate said in a statement Al-Sayha newspaper received a copy of that the regulation of the Parliament allows the press and the public to attend, it also states the secret nature of the committees works unless in the conditions specified by the Parliament. It also mentioned that it will contact the media to provide required information and news deemed sharable with the press and media.

The Parliament’s Representatives showed their support for the journalists and their absolute rejection for the Parliament decree; they also added that the job of the Parliament is to protect and defend freedoms, yet its decree deems it the first to violate it; mentioning that the decree proves a problem within the legislative institution, “journalism is what exposes corruption, why does the Parliament fear it (journalism)?” they added.

Parliament member Mubarak Al-Nour assured his condemnation regarding the decree to Al-Sayha newspaper and added that the decree does not represent the Representatives. He also requested the leadership of the Parliament to cancel the decree.

“This is totally unacceptable, we will have our stance,” Parliament member of Al-Eslah Al-A’an/Reformation Now movement Fath Al-Rahman Fideal said.

According to Al-Sayha newspaper, newspapers correspondents in the Parliament issued a statement expressing how they felt terribly sorry about the Parliament forbidding them from publishing its works to the public, which emphasises that the Parliament has parts of its work that it does not want to share publicly. They have also considered the prohibition in conflict with the law and the constitution which made the attendance of the Parliament available even to the public; indicating that the Parliament is a legislative institution responsible for maintaining the authority of the law and the constitution.

Worth to mention that the Parliament’s procedures contradict Article 39-(1) of the Sudanese Constitution: “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 as shall be regulated by law in a democratic society. All media shall abide by professional ethics, shall retain from inciting religious, ethnic, racial or cultural hatred and shall not agitate for violence or war.”

Source: Assayha