27 January 2013

Sudan's State TV Employees Stage Protests Over Deteriorating Working Conditions

Khartoum — Dozens of workers from Sudan's state TV staged a protest yesterday to denounce deteriorating working conditions in the form of ageing and faulty equipments as well as accumulation of financial arrears.

The demonstrators called for sacking the TV's director Mr. Mohamed Hatem Suleiman to end what they described as two years of "terrible negligence and deterioration".

Sudanese police stationed several of its vehicles nearby to monitor the protests and prevent it from expanding outside the TV premises located in the country's twin capital city of Omdurman.

An official working with the reporters' pool at the TV vowed to continue the protests until all their demands are met.

"Most cameras have broken down due to lack of maintenance and management has failed to buy a maintenance manual which costs no more than $50," said the official who asked not to be named. He went on to say that the TV headquarters have turned into a "miserable" place.

The official also disclosed that Sudan TV's subscriptions with major news agencies was suspended for failing to pay their dues. This, he said, is why the main news bulletin on Sudan TV no longer features world news.

An editor in Sudan TV's newsroom said that he was forced to use carbon paper due to lack of printers' cartridges. He added that some editors have to sit on tables because of the shortage in chairs and offices in the newsroom.

"There is only one device used for the production of news and shows and is shared across departments," said the editor who also insisted on anonymity.

Sudan TV recently came under the microscope after a parliamentary subcommittee this month directed criticism at its performance saying that its airtime consists mainly of songs. It summoned the TV director to probe him on that among other issues which included disbursing financial dues to its employees.

The country remains embroiled in an economic crisis that was caused by the secession of South Sudan which took with it most of the country's oil wealth.

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