Khartoum — The Darfur Transitional Justice Centre has launched a one million signature campaign in solidarity with Radio Dabanga.
The centre said in a statement on Friday that it initiated the campaign "to stand with, support, and advocate for Radio Dabanga" in order "to counter the ruling National Congress Party's systematic targeting of the radio to silence its voice that expresses hope and dreams of millions [of Sudanese]".
The action is a response to the shut-down of the uplink of the 24/7 Dabanga Sudan satellite programme on February 18. The Egyptian satellite service company Nilesat suspended the transmission of the broadcasts without prior notice.
The channel went dark until a new frequency at Eutelsat allowed transmission to resume the next day at 1pm - which required Dabanga Sudan viewers to re-tune their satellite receivers to the new frequency.
Sudanese Minister of Information Ahmed Bilal confirmed at the time that the Sudanese government issued a complaint about the Dabanga Sudan satellite programme to Egyptian authorities, which resulted in the suspension of the 24/7 news channel.
Opposition parties, civil society organisations, armed movements, and listeners have expressed their solidarity with Radio Dabanga. They view the suspension as "a result of the security understandings between the Sudanese and Egyptian regimes". According to the Sudanese Journalist Network for Human Rights (JAHR) the shut-down was instigated by the Sudanese Ministry of Information.
The Sudanese Journalists' Network called the suspension is "a clear violation of freedom of expression and a desperate attempt by the Sudanese regime to stifle voices in the media abroad as it has been doing with the media home,"
The Communist Party of Sudan pointed to the "cooperation between the security services in Sudan and Egypt which is a desperate attempt to silence this free democratic voice by the enemies of truth and the cowards who fear their people, whether in Sudan or Egypt".
'Voice for the voiceless'
On Friday, seasonal labourers in El Gezira, White Nile state, and Sennar, allied in the Kanabi Association, voiced their support for Radio Dabanga as well.
In a statement the association called Radio Dabanga "a beacon, and an intimate friend as it supports the issues of the vulnerable and the marginalised, including the seasonal labourers".
Last week, Sudanese listeners continued to call the radio from various countries. They described the shut-down "a blatant violation of the freedom of expression" and "a desperate attempt by the regime to gag free voices in its fight to stifle dissenting opinions".
They said they consider the radio "a voice for the voiceless whom the regime is seeking to silence, so that its perfidy will not be exposed".
Activist Jideiri Hamid stated that Radio Dabanga "has played a historical and unique role in the life of the Sudanese by respecting and reflecting the cultural, social, and political diversity in the country".