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Sudan orders TV channel to switch off: owner

November 27, 2016

Sudan on Sunday ordered a private television channel to stop broadcasting after accusing it of operating without a licence, the network’s owner told AFP.

Hussein Khojali, owner of 24-hour entertainment network Omdurman Channel, said he received a letter from the Sudanese Authority of Radio and Television Broadcasting asking him to stop broadcasting.

“Today at 8:30 pm (1700 GMT) we received a letter from the authorities saying the channel has been stopped from broadcasting because it didn’t have a licence,” Khojali said.

“This is completely false.”

He said the channel had obtained a licence six years ago when it was launched.

“We started six years ago. The letter also did not specify from when it was supposed to stop broadcasting.”

Late Sunday Omdurman Channel was still on the air, but the order to switch off came amid opposition calls for a three-day strike against a government decision to cut fuel subsidies.

Khojali, a newspaper columnist, also owns Alwan, a daily newspaper, and FM radio station Al-Masah.

“We are doing our job in a professional manner,” Khojali said. Several Sudanese and regional Arabic channels reported the order for him to stop broadcasting.

Officials from the information ministry were unvailable for comment.

Journalists in Sudan frequently complain of harassment from the authorities, and the country regularly ranks near the bottom of international press freedom indexes.

The powerful National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) often confiscates the entire print runs of newspapers over articles it deems offensive, rarely explaining why.

Dispatches from AFP concerning freedom of information, censorship and news coverage in regions where independent media is under threat.