<strong>The IPI global network strongly condemns Sudan’s decision to revoke the broadcasting license of an Al Jazeera sister station as an attack on press freedom and the free flow of news. IPI demands that Sudanese authorities swiftly reinstate Al Jazeera Mubasher’s license. </strong>
On Jan. 16, Sudanese authorities <a href=”https://english.alaraby.co.uk/news/sudan-revokes-licence-al-jazeera-live-tv-unit”>accused</a> Al Jazeera Mubasher, part of the Qatar-based network, of “unprofessional” coverage of Sudanese affairs, which the government claimed “damages the country’s interest and social fabric”. They revoked its accreditation and barred its team from working in Sudan, according to a statement by the news outlet.
“Al Jazeera condemns the interference with its duty to convey fair and objective coverage of events in the country and to allow its journalists to operate unhindered and to practice their profession”, the company wrote in a statement on Jan. 16 provided to IPI. “The Network views this as an attack on press freedom as a whole and calls on international human rights and media organisations to condemn this infringement of journalists’ safety.”
This is not the first time the Sudanese authorities have shut down a local Al Jazeera unit. In May 2019, the Sudanese Transitional Military Council forcibly <a href=”https://ipi.media/ipi-condemns-closure-of-al-jazeera-bureau-in-sudan/”>closed</a> the Al Jazeera bureau in Khartoum and banned Al Jazeera reporters from working.
This decision also comes two months after Sudanese authorities <a href=”https://ipi.media/sudan-arrests-al-jazeera-bureau-chief/”>arrested</a> El Musalmi El Kabbashi, the Sudan bureau chief for Al Jazeera, following protests that turned violent against the military coup.
“Sudan’s authorities must stop targeting media outlets for their coverage of the aftermath of last year’s coup, including the pro-democracy demonstrations”, IPI Deputy Director Scott Griffen said. “It is clear that this is nothing more than a heavy handed effort by the government to control information and block coverage it disagrees with. We call on Sudan to immediately reinstate Al Jazeera Mubasher’s license and to respect the right of all media to report on ongoing events free from government harassment and interference.”
Sudan has been in a state of political turmoil since military leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan launched a coup in Oct. 2021 to overthrow the government of civilian Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok. Over 64 protestors have been killed while fighting for civilian rule.
Commenting on the state of press freedom in Sudan, the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum <a href=”https://twitter.com/ajmubasher/status/1482720911950295045″>tweeted</a> in support of Al Jazeera: “Yesterday’s revocation of Al Jazeera’s license is a step backwards for press freedom, which is the cornerstone of democratic transition.”
Other journalists and media outlets have also been stripped of their press rights and freedoms. On Jan 13, Sudanese security forces <a href=”https://ipi.media/ipi-condemns-arrest-of-alaraby-journalists-in-sudan/”>raided</a> broadcaster Al Araby’s Khartoum bureau and detained four journalists. They were questioned and beaten by security forces for hours until they were released later that night. Several other journalists faced physical assault or detention following the coup, which also restricted the country’s <a href=”https://ipi.media/sudans-military-must-free-arrested-journalists-end-internet-block/”>internet</a>.