Sudan : After Intelligence Control Lift On Papers Implementation Could Be The First Step Towards Press Freedom.
|Wednesday, September 30,2009 23:23|
The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information ,ANHRI, welcomed the decision announced by the Sudanese president Omar Al Bashir last week , lifting the state control over newspapers performed by intelligence every evening in
Newsrooms, eliminating articles that are considered "quite sensitive" .
This is a good step for the freedom of the press in case it was literally implemented , without changes or impeding practices.
The general security service held a meeting with chief editors regarding censorship lift on newspapers in Sudan. A charter was handed to them to sign. Some chief editors refused to sign the charter as they said it was dictated from the government and they took no part in drafting it. Many other signed the charter that would apply only to printed papers not the national television.
A number of Sudanese reporters declared to ANHRI that " the government is trying for a better public image at any price as public and presidential elections coming close for the first time in 25 years.
The government intends to appear as a supporter of freedoms to cover for its international embarrassment after the International Criminal Court issuing an arrest warrant for Al Bashir accusing him of committing war crimes in Darfur".
Around thirty printed papers are issued daily in Sudan (in Arabic and English) reflecting different political orientations , communist , Islamist and pro government. The Sudanese parliament , dominated by the government, has issued a new legislation for the press in June 2009, that contained flexible articles about causing ethnic religious or racial agitation or inciting to violence and armed conflict. The law commits papers to "respect religious values and public morals" as red lines not be passed otherwise reporters will pay fines specified by the court and security service has the authority to close the paper down for up to three days without court permission.
ANHRI calls on the Sudanese government to be serious about lifting control on printed papers and expanding the lift to include radio and TV, hoping it will not be an election rosy promise.
ANHRI hopes that this decision will mark the beginning of a new phase of endorsing basic freedoms that are long missed in Sudan , freedom of expression , the right to demonstrate , peaceful congregations and allowing political opposition to perform without impairing measures.