The mostly privately owned Sudanese press
is both active and diverse, reflecting the voices of a broad section of the
Sudanese society. The freedom of the press has, however, been heavily curtailed
amidst renewed international criticism of the Sudanese government over the
human rights crisis in Darfur. 2006 was a dark year for the Sudanese press:
Muhammad Taha Ahmad, editor-in-chief of the weekly Al Wifaq, was
kidnapped and beheaded; several newspapers were suspended for short periods; two
foreign reporters charged were with espionage and several local journalists
were harassed and beaten by police.
In spite of a constitutional provision
guaranteeing press freedom, the Sudanese authorities abuse the highly
controversial article 130 of the penal code procedure – which proscribes the
media from covering criminal cases still under investigation – in order to
prevent them from covering controversial issues, most recently the murky
assassination of Muhammad Taha Ahmad.
Another problem of the Sudanese press is
the brain drain it suffers from, due to the emigration of skilled journalists
to rich Arab Gulf countries.
Did you know?
The first Sudanese newspaper was the Sudanese
Gazette, which appeared already in 1899. Despite of the fact that the more
than 100 languages are spoken in Sudan, most newspapers are published in Arabic
independent newspaper, Akhir Lahza is the latest addition to the
Sudanese press. It covers local news from a critical point of view, which does
not, however, include Darfur. This daily publishes a wide range of columnists,
such as Al Tayib Salih and Mahmoud Abu Al Ghara’im. Akhir Lahza has a
modern design, a large sports section and a high-quality website.
Language: Arabic Established: 1953 Published daily
The leading independent daily, Al Ayam
provides extensive news coverage, balanced editorials and insightful
investigative journalism. One of its special sections is “Letters from the
provinces” where local issues are covered in a critical way. Al Ayam has
been targeted by the Sudanese authorities throughout the years. In 2004, the
paper was suspended for several months and its editor-in-chief Mahgoub Mohammed
Salih imprisoned for threatening national security. In 2006, one of Al Ayam’s
journalists, Nasser Al Din Al Tayyib, was beaten and imprisoned. Mahgoub
Mohammed Salih was awarded the Golden Pen of Freedom in 2005, the annual press
freedom prize of the World Association of Newspapers (WAN).
Language: Arabic Established: 1961 Published daily
A left-leaning, independent daily with ties
to the opposition, in particular the Sudanese Communist Party, Al Sahafa
was suspended in 2003 and its editor-in-chief Adel Al Baz was imprisoned in
2006. Al Sahafa has a high-quality website.
independent daily, Al Sudani provides comprehensive and critical
coverage of the Sudanese political life. It has a special section on
parliamentary activities. The newspaper provides critical coverage of local
news, though to a lesser degree on Darfur. It publishes a wide range of
columnists and boasts a large sports section. Al Sudani has been
suspended repeatedly, last time in May 2007, when the Sudanese authorities
punished the paper for publishing an editorial about money laundry, which also criticised
the Minister of Justice. The writer of the editorial, Othman Al Mir Ghani, and
the editor-in-chief, Mahjoub Arwa, were both imprisoned.
A leading independent newspaper with Arab
nationalist sympathies, strong connections to the Islamist government and a
vociferous anti-Western attitude about the Darfur crisis, Al Ray Al Am
on a daily basis publishes a series of columns touching on a wide range of
political, social and cultural issues. In spite of the paper’s strong relations
to the government, it has not been spared the increasing state security
harassment of the Sudanese press. In 2006, Al Ray Al Aam was subpoenaed
by the National Security for misinformation on the country’s relations with
English-language newspaper that sympathizes with the autonomous government of
South Sudan, Sudan Vision is distributed mainly in the capital city of Khartoum
but produced by and mostly for the Southern Sudanese. The paper has a special
section on South Sudan through Focus on South, on Sub-Saharan Africa in Africa
in Focus and on Darfur in Darfur Hot. It features a special
Christian section called Sunday Vision.