Statement on the Erosion of the Right of Freedom of Expression in Sudan

Submitted to the 44th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights Abuja, Nigeria

(14 November, 2008) Over the last year repression of freedom of expression and of the media has intensified in Sudan. Daily newspapers have been suspended, printed newspaper editions and equipment confiscated, in addition to increased harassment, arrest, detention and interrogation of journalists and preferring of criminal and civil charges.

In particular, the government authorities have begun to once more employ an old tool to
undermine independent media, a procedure which had not been used since before the
Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). This pre-censorship process involves the
appointment of a security officer attached to each newspaper who every evening
reviews the text of the edition and decides which articles are to be cut or re-written,
columns excised or whole pages and sections removed. On some occasions the entire
edition has been pulled. Where last minute censorship is imposed on a newspaper there is, of course, little which can be done in terms of re-framing, and significant financial and reputation loss can result if the newspaper cannot issue – or indeed more if the entire print run is confiscated. This impact of this practice has been exacerbated by the fact that the censorship criteria are not fixed and it is very difficult to predict and prevent being censored.

Read the statement here

Read the statement in Arabic here.