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Sudanese authorities revoke international media licenses

Sudanese authorities yesterday withdrew licenses of six journalists reporting for international media, including the Qatari Al Jazeera TV, according to news reports. These international media have covered the news of protests against the government of Omer Al Bashir, who is scheduled to visit Qatar today, his first visit abroad since the outbreak of protests on 19 December.

Mr. Sharaf Mansour, Coordinator of the Committee for Protection of Journalists in the Middle East and North Africa, said Sudan’s action against international media is a desperate attempt to gag the press during protests in the country. He said it was ironic that Al Jazeera TV journalists are banned at a time when Al Bashir is travelling to Qatar. Security authorities yesterday revoked licenses of the correspondents of Al Jazeera TV Mr. Osama Ahmed and Mr. Ahmed Al Rehaid and the photographer Mr. Badawi Beshir, in addition to the correspondent of Al Arabiya TV Mr. Saad Al Din Hassan, according to news agencies. The same day, authorities withdrew the license of the correspondent of the Turkish News Agency (Anadolu) Mr. Buhram Abdul Moneim and the photographer Mr. Mahmoud Hajaj, according to the Sudanese Journalists Network. Al Jazeera TV, in a press release condemned what it characterized as arbitrary measure and demanded the return of the licenses.

Human rights instruments clearly provide for the right to receive and impart information besides the freedom of exchange of views and opinions. The Sudan’s constitution and law also guarantee that right, therefore restricting this right constitutes violation of the constitution and the law that organize its exercise.

Source; CPJ