Sudan: Journalist Hunger Strikes Over Newspaper Suspension

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A team of journalists in Sudan are staging a hunger strike in protest of their newspaper being suspended.

Security forces ordered the suspension of Al Tayar daily back in December, prompting a backlash from the publication’s team of 30 journalists. The strike was announced two weeks ago and the reporters insist they will not eat again until the suspension is lifted.

 

Defiant journalists

Editor-in-chief Khaled Fathi told Radio Dabanga on Monday that the protest will continue until press censorship in Sudan comes to an end.

“We will not lift our strike until all forms of censorship on newspapers stop and until our newspaper returns to the press,” he told the station.

The journalists are refusing to eat any kind of food during the strike, which will run night and day. Their only intake will be drinking water and the reporters will chain their hands together as a symbolic gesture against media suppression in their country.

“They will also move the chains on their hands to produce sounds, instead of the sound of writing with pens,” Fathi said.

Medics will be on standby to conduct regular checkups on the journalists and one doctor who supports the strike says they are ready for any emergencies.

 

Press censorship in Sudan

No reasons were given by security forces for the indefinite suspension of Al Tayar in December last year. However, fellow editor-in-chief Osman Mirghani said it could have something to do with the paper’s criticism of the Finance Minister’s proposal to lift subsidies on life essentials. The general public were faced with higher food and energy costs as a result.

Sudan is well-known for suppressing news media, currently ranked 174th out of 180 countries in the Reporters Without Borders freedom of press index. Al Tayar was also suspended indefinitely in February 2012, before being allowed to resume publication in June the same year, by order of the Constitutional Court.

 

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