In the latest crackdown on media freedoms, Sudan’s coup leaders have shutdown one of the Doha-based Al Jazeera’s offices in Khartoum.
The Sudanese Ministry of Information and Culture has revoked the license of the Al Jazeera Media Network’s Live channel – ‘Al Jazeera Mubasher’. The Ministry also closed their Khartoum office and withdrew the work licenses from their journalists, including correspondent Mohamed Omar.
Al Jazeera journalist, Arwa Ibrahim, shared an official statement on her Twitter account, which was sent from The Ministry of Information and Culture to the director of the media network. The letter stated that the closing of the office is due to the alleged “unprofessional manner and broadcast of content that jeopardises the country’s national security and higher interests.”
Sudanese authorities order closure of AlJazeera Mubasher’s office in Khartoum and revoke its journalists’ licenses. pic.twitter.com/zCj4iJTag8
— Arwa Ibrahim (@arwaib) January 16, 2022
According to Al Jazeera, this is the second time authorities in Sudan shut down the channel’s office in Khartoum. The first time was on 30th May, 2019, shortly after the channel broadcasted live coverage of protests and unrest that gripped the country. Then in late 2021 the Transitional Military Council, which had weeks earlier overthrown the government of Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok, withdrew the media network’s license and took away their equipment, in addition to arresting bureau chief, El Musalmi El Kabbashi.
Based on the Press and Publications Act of year 2009, The National Council on Press and Publication is the only authority responsible for regulating, licensing, and supervising the work of the media.
It is also responsible for deciding on the closure of foreign media agencies, meaning that in accordance with Sudanese law the Ministry of Information and Culture are otherwise unauthorised to perform their censoring actions.
“Therefore, Al Jazeera has the right to file an administrative appeal against this unlawful decision,” said The Preparatory Committee for the Restoration of the Sudanese Journalists Syndicate, in a statement released to Sudan Tribune.
Ever since the military overthrew the transitional government, there has been a notable increase in the number of attacks on journalists in Sudan with several arrests being made by security forces. This has also been coupled with prolonged internet blackouts across Sudan as the army restricts people’s access to information.