Radio Dabanga (Hilversum)

23 May 2014

Sudan: Committee to Oversee Sudan Media - NCF Denounce El Mahdi's Arrest

Khartoum — The Minister of Information and government spokesman, Ahmed Bilal Osman, has revealed the formation of a committee to oversee the press' materials on corruption within Sudan before they are published. Sudanese journalists believe that these statements and the ongoing talking about the National Dialogue only prolong the survival of the regime.

"The government will not allow the press to scandalise state institutions or defame the constitutional personalities with unfounded political charges," Bilal Osman said in a press statement in the parliament on Wednesday. He threatened to stop the publication of any newspaper that goes "beyond the red lines".

On Monday, the Sudanese presidency delivered a strongly worded statement, warning the media for passing "red lines" in covering a number of sensitive items, such as corruption within state institutions, and the performance of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in Darfur.

'Arrest El Mahdi makes dialogue meaningless'

Journalist Faiz El Silaik has described the remarks made by the Minister as "not new"."All the issues are red lines for the government: corruption, the war in Darfur, the RSF, the figures of the government, and the President himself."

He explained that the Minister's statements confirmed that the National Dialogue called for by the government has no meaning after the arrest of National Umma Party leader El Sadig El Mahdi, noting that talking about dialogue is just a lie to prolong the survival of the regime for the longest duration.

NCF still denounce leader's arrest:

The opposition National Consensus Forces (NCF) have renewed their denunciation of the arrest of El Sadig El Mahdi on Thursday, and demanded the immediate release of the imam.

A number of political party leaders under the banner of the NCF also affirmed the National Umma Party's (NUP) position of not participating in the National Dialogue in a statement issued on Saturday. The opposition leaders' meeting also confirmed the formation of a committee for solidarity with Umma Party leader imam El Sadig El Mahdi.

They stressed the Umma Party's negative position regarding the government RSF, and the necessity of conducting an investigation into the troops' assaults. Furthermore, the NCF called the masses to unite in order to "dismantle the totalitarian regime", and "achieve peace and democratisation".

The National Dialogue is now on hold, after the armed opposition in Darfur and Kordofan, and the NCF had declined an invitation to participate.

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