Sudanese military forces arrest state television director, pro-military protesters assault journalists amid unrest

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New York, October 26, 2021 – Sudanese military authorities must immediately release journalist Maher Abugoukh, stop searching the media, investigate attacks by pro-military protesters on journalists and ensure the functioning of telecommunications following the coup. ‘Yesterday’s military state in which military leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan deposed Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and dissolved the government, the Committee to Protect Journalists announced today.

Yesterday, military forces arrested Abugoukh, the director of several news and political programs on Sudanese state television channels, from his home in Khartoum, and did not disclose his whereabouts or the reason for his arrest. arrest, according to a representative of the local press freedom group. Network of Sudanese journalists who spoke to CPJ via a messaging app on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal. Two local journalists close to the case, Yuosif Doka and Mohamed Adam Baraka, also confirmed the arrest via a messaging application.

Abugoukh has previously criticized the army in live television and radio interviews, including on October 10 on local independent station Hala98, which posted the interview on YouTube.

“Sudanese authorities must release Maher Abugoukh immediately,” CPJ Middle East and North Africa program coordinator Sherif Mansour said in Washington, DC “Sudanese journalists must be free to cover the ongoing coup without fear of reprisals and raids and with unrestricted access to telecommunications services. ”

Assaults

On October 21, pro-military protesters assaulted Ahmed Hamdan, journalist and news director for the local independent daily Al-Dimuqrati, while he was covering their demonstration in front of the parliament according to new reports, and local journalist Adel Color who spoke to CPJ via a messaging app.

Hamdan suffered head injuries for which he received stitches at a local hospital and was released after a few hours, according to Color and these reports.

CPJ could not find Hamdan’s contact details; an e-mail to Al-Dimuqrati was not immediately answered.

On the same day, pro-military protesters punched three media workers from the British BBC broadcaster as they covered a pro-military protest outside the presidential palace in Khartoum, according to one. Facebook post by BBC correspondent Mohamed Osman, and a local journalist who spoke to CPJ via a messaging app on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal. The local reporter said the team, which included a producer, cameraman and assistant, fled the scene and no one was injured. CPJ has not been able to determine their names.

On 23 October, supporters of the National Congress Party of former President Omar al-Bashir, banned in 2019, stormed the headquarters of the independent local news agency Sudan News Agency (SUNA) to arrest a press conference organized by Forces of Freedom and Change. , a coalition of civil society groups, according to A declaration by SUNA, the news, and color.

During the incident, supporters of the National Congress Party beat SUNA journalist Al-Ahmadi Farah who underwent surgery for a broken hand in a hospital in Khartoum the next day, SUNA and Color said. . CPJ could not find Farah’s contact details.

In a separate incident the same day, pro-military protesters prevented journalist Marwan Negm el-Din, correspondent for Qatari channel Al-Jazeera, from covering protests at the Al Mk Nemer bridge in Khartoum. , according to a report in the regional news site Al-Araby Al-Jadeed and a local journalist who spoke to CPJ via a messaging app on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal. Protesters seized Negm el-Din’s phone while he was filming, according to CPJ’s review of a video sent by the local journalist documenting the incident. CPJ was unable to find contact details for Negm el-Din and an email to Al-Jazeera did not receive an immediate response.

Telecommunications interruption

On October 24, military forces raided the Sudanese state broadcaster’s building and cut the television signal, according to new reports and one Facebook post by the Ministry of Culture and Information.

Yesterday, international digital rights groups Netblocks and Access now reported that Internet service as well as several cellular and fixed line telecommunications services from several providers have been discontinued. To date, no government agency or internet service provider has confirmed the closures, according to local journalists who spoke to CPJ.

CPJ sent an email to Sudan’s justice ministry, the general intelligence service, the culture and information ministry and the military for comment, but did not receive an immediate response.

Editor’s Note: The title of this article has been updated to reflect the chronology of incidents


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