Mbeki Receives Sudan Press Freedom Proposal, Institute Calls for Journalists Involvement

Mekki Elmoghrabi
By Mekki Center August 20, 2014

Khartoum – Sudan Press Freedom (SPF) institute Head, Mekki Elmograbi presented a working paper to the African Union High-level Implementation Panel on Sudan (AUHIP) Chief, Thabo Mbeki, on the state of press freedom in the country and its impact on the national dialogue.

Head of the United Nations Office to the African Union (UNOAU) and Special Representative to the African Union at the level of Under-Secretary-General, Head of the AU Liaison Office in Sudan, Ambassador Mahmoud Kane, IGAD Envoy and chief staff of the AUHIP also met with organisation.

Elmograbi affirmed that the SPF is the only press freedom NGO registered in Sudan.

He asserted that newspaper editors-in-chiefs should participate in the national dialogue as observers to protect the dialogue and the press from politicisation and political hijack by both the government and opposition.

The paper suggested that the exceptional circumstances of Sudan and the situation of war and conflicts have prompted authorities to use the law of Intelligence and Security besides the constitutional precedents of pre-censorship.
The exceptional procedures from the government have prompted extreme stands from political parties.

Press freedom in Sudan remains a vicious cycle of actions and reactions. Accordingly, the SPF proposes the inclusion of the issue in the national dialogue to reach a concrete recommendation on the matter of pre-censorship and hence avail better spaces for journalists and newspapers to work without fearing negative backlash.

SPF also called for the lifting of restrictions from journalists who have been banned from writing.

The paper also called for putting forward cases of violations to the Press and Publication Council, which has the right to suspend or advise newspapers, considering the Council’s decision could be challenged before the ordinary courts.
The SPF paper affirmed the readiness of the organisation to play a positive role in promoting the peace-building process and democratic transformation.

The AUHIP delegation affirmed that press freedom should have priority in the national dialogue to amend the policies and procedures that hinder press freedom in Sudan.

Mekki Elmoghrabi
By Mekki Center August 20, 2014