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Sudan Tribune

Plural news and views on Sudan

National roundtable alarmed by ‘deteriorating media freedom’

December 9, 2008 (JUBA) – A group of journalists, civil society
groups, and international media development organisations are alarmed
by “the deteriorating state of freedom of expression and media freedom
in Sudan.”

The National Roundtable group forged a resolution December 2 during a
meeting of 34 Sudanese journalists and media professionals in Juba,
held under the auspices of the Sudan Consortium, a coalition of media
groups supported by the European Commission and Norwegian Ministry for
Foreign Affairs.

The roundtable discussed in-force and draft national media
legislation, and highlighted the need for urgent reform of National
and Southern Sudan media legislation, ahead of the scheduled 2009
national elections.

“The meeting was deeply concerned by the crackdown on journalists,
media professionals and media houses throughout the country, and most
particularly in Khartoum,” said a statement issued by London-based ARTICLE 19.

“The increasing of censorship of newspapers, the harassment, detention and torture of media practitioners has reached alarming levels in Sudan,” it added.

At hand to open the meeting was Gabriel Changson Chang, the Southern
Sudan minister of information and broadcasting.

Freedom of expression and media freedom are guaranteed under the
provisions of the Interim National Consitution and the Interim
Constitution of South Sudan, which were established in accordance with
the terms of a peace agreement in 2005.

However, the roundtable called for an end to what it called “acts of
repression against the media” and drew attention to the particular
role of the Sudanese National Security and Intelligence Forces (NISS)
in imposing censorship on the media.

Furthermore, the journalists called for repealing the Press Act of 2004.

(ST)