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Sudan protests at EU holding journalists meeting

October 3, 2018

Sudan summoned the European Union ambassador to Khartoum on Wednesday to protest against an EU-organised meeting of journalists that called for strengthening of press freedoms in the African country.

The meeting held on Tuesday by the EU at its office in Khartoum was attended by representatives of several European embassies and the US charge d’affaires to Sudan.

“The ministry complained to the EU ambassador that the meeting he organised was held in a way that only a select group of journalists were called,” the Sudanese foreign ministry said in a statement.

The ministry said it also protested at the statement issued by the EU after the meeting, which suggested that the meeting was for all Sudanese journalists.

“The way the meeting was held is against diplomatic behaviour and the ministry rejects this,” it said.

A Tuesday statement issued jointly by European Union ambassadors and US Charge D’Affaires Steven Koutsis said that journalists who attended the meeting briefed the diplomats about the challenges faced by the media industry in Sudan and the difficulties for journalists.

“Furthermore, the importance of strengthening the freedom of the press and the freedom of opinion and expression in all media outlets, including online media, was stressed by all,” the statement said.

“In this regard, concern about the constraints placed on these freedoms in Sudan, particularly with regards the ongoing newspaper seizures was also expressed.”

Media in Sudan are frequently targeted by agents of National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) for their reporting, especially for publishing articles that criticise government polices.

Often security agents seize entire print-runs of newspapers without any prior notice.

Several journalists were arrested in January when authorities cracked down on anti-government protests triggered by surging food prices.

Media watchog, Reporters Without Borders, ranked Sudan 174th out of 180 countries on its 2017 world press freedom index, saying that NISS “hounds journalists and censors the print media”.

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