21 September 2017

Sudan: Critical Sudanese Reporter's Trial Postponed

Sawakin — On Tuesday, the court in Sawakin in Sudan's Red Sea state postponed the trial of media reporter Mohamed El Amin Osheik to October 10.

Osheik was detained in June and was held at the Sawakin police station on charges of defamation after he posted messages of social media critical of the deterioration of electricity and water services in Sawakin.

He denied that the complaint filed against him by the locality Commissioner has been cancelled and explained that the Commissioner delegated the executive director of the locality office to appear in the proceedings. Osheik attributed the postponement of case for the absence of defence lawyers because of sickness.

On Monday the security services in Kassala summoned Munsel Zakariya for posting an article on social media criticising the preparation for the inter- school competition. He was released later.

Security officers asked Zakariya to withdraw the article which was the subject of the summons, by writing a statement in the Information Prosecution, but he refused to do so.

The security officers also asked to address the government's positives and reflect its efforts.

Media curbs

The Sudanese Journalists Network says that the Sudanese press is still facing real problems, most importantly by the state's prior and pre-censorship of newspapers and violations of journalists' rights.

Speaking on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day on May 3, the network confirmed the rise in the violations against the press in 2016 and predicted a rise during the last half of this year.

Hassan Barkiya, the member of the Journalists' Network told Radio Dabanga that the Sudanese press is facing real problems, including authoritarian interventions by the state and structural problems related to the press institutions themselves and the press industry.

He said that the press is working in an unfavourable legal and political environment that restricts press freedom, hinders the work of newspapers, and poses a threat to the press.

He explained that the real dilemma is the government's interference with censorship including the confiscation of newspapers.

2017 World Press Freedom Index

Sudan ranks 174th out of 180 countries listed in the 2017 World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders. The index notes: "Although indicted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity, President Omar Al Bashir secured another term in an April 2016 election marked by harassment of the media, censorship, confiscation of newspaper issues, media closures, and Internet cuts.

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