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AI: Sudan government must stop harassment of journalists

Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] urged [press release] the Sudanese government on Tuesday to stop its alleged press censorship. AI reports that Sudanese authorities have on several occasions seized newspapers from the printing press. Additionally, a prominent columnist, Faisal Saleh, was arrested and remains in custody after publishing a report on an alleged rape by a Sudanese security agent. In a statement, AI's Sudan researcher Jean-Baptiste Gallopin condemned the government's actions:

The Sudanese government is continuing its relentless harassment of journalists and editors who dare to do their job. The authorities are deploying a wide array of coercive measures against individuals and media organizations to discourage or prevent independent reporting and critical comment. The [arrest] of Faisal Saleh is a smack in the face for free speech and the Sudanese authorities must ... [end] these constant attempts to silence any form of dissent.
In addition to alleged direct censorship, AI has called on Sudanese authorities to cease all intimidation tactics designed to influence the press.

Press freedom continues to be a crucial human rights issue around the world. In March, UN Special Rapporteur Margaret Sekaggya [official website] outlined the risks and challenges faced by human rights journalists and media workers [JURIST report], and called for additional protection of those workers. Her report [text] indicated that, "journalists and media workers active on human rights issues were subject to killings, attacks, disappearance, abduction, torture and ill-treatment." In February, The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) [advocacy website] released its annual Attacks on the Press report [text], expressing concern about increased censorship of journalists worldwide [JURIST report] in 2011, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa. Last May, journalism rights group Reporters without Borders (RSF) [advocacy website] released [JURIST report] its annual list of predators of press freedom [materials; press release], which included the heads of state of several countries in the Middle East and North Africa. In April 2011, the US Department of State (DOS) [official website] released its 2010 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices [materials]. The reports cited many of the same leaders and organizations [JURIST report] as the RSF for violating freedom of the press. RSF's 2010 report [JURIST report] also listed many of the same offenders.

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