World Media

Sudanese authorities arrest AFP, Reuters journalists

Sudanese authorities arrest AFP, Reuters journalists

"Reuters last had contact with its stringer early on Wednesday before he went to report on the demonstrations which resulted in clashes between police and protesters". "The authorities have a duty to guarantee the safety of journalists rather than target them", he further said.

Reuters said it did not know the circumstances of the detention and was actively seeking additional information about the situation.

"AFP management strongly condemns the arrest of Mr. Idris Ali and asks Sudanese authorities for his immediate release", the agency said.

The Sudanese Journalists Network also reported the arrests.

Sporadic protests have erupted across Sudan after prices of food, notably bread, surged following a jump in the cost of flour due to a shortage of wheat.

Authorities cracked down on similar protests in 2016, and rights groups say dozens were killed by security forces in 2013 protests.

In December, the International Monetary Fund urged Sudan to take measures such as floating its currency, eliminating the monetization of deficits, broadening the tax base, and phasing out subsidies for energy and wheat in favor of direct assistance to the poor.

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Wednesday's rally was called by the main opposition Umma Party, a day after a similar demonstration was held near the presidential palace in Khartoum following a call issued by the Communist Party.

Authorities in Sudan have seized copies of newspapers and arrested several reporters over articles on "anti-inflation protests" prompting calls from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) against the harassment.

They arbitrary arrest was seen as an attempt form the security apparatus to dissuade the independent local media and global correspondents from covering protests organised by the opposition parties and advertise their activities.

The Sudanese government has vaguely excused the arrests and crackdown on protesters as necessary to head off more severe violence, but critics note that Sudan has an appalling record when it comes to press freedom under the leadership of President Omar al-Bashir, who has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.

Reporters Magdi al-Ajib of the local privately owned newspaper al-Watan, Rishan Oushi of the local privately owned newspaper Mijhar al-Siyasi, Imtenan Al-Radi of the local privately owned newspaper al-Youm al-Tali, and freelance journalist Amal Habani were arrested on January 16; Shawky Abdelazim, al-Youm al-Tali editor, Khalid Abdelaziz, Reuters' Sudan correspondent, and Abdelmunim Abudris, AFP's correspondent, were arrested yesterday, according to news reports and SJN.

Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans Frontières, RSF) ranked Sudan the 174th worst out of 180 countries in its 2017 World Press Freedom Index.


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