Crackdown on media freedoms, May – July 2017

(14 August 2017) The African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) has documented a surge in restrictions on media freedoms in Sudan between late May and mid July 2017. There is an immediate concern for the safety of three Sudanese online bloggers resident in Saudi Arabia deported to Khartoum at the behest of the Sudanese government on 11 July. The whereabouts of the three men remain unknown and family members have been unable to obtain confirmation of their detention or wellbeing from relevant Sudanese authorities. A number of other journalists were summoned and interrogated by the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) in connection with articles they wrote, and the NISS prevented the distribution of five newspapers after publication.

Criminal charges leveled against journalists in Sudan often lack legitimacy and unduly restrict the right to freedom of expression. The use of defamation legislation is often used to curb the criticism of officials and to encourage self-censorship.