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The coup in Sudan and a dismal moment for press freedom across North Africa | Columbia Journalism Review

By Jon Allsop
October 26, 2021

Yesterday—after two years of promising, fragile transition toward democracy—Sudan fell victim to a military coup. Military leaders seized power, arresting Abdalla Hamdok, the civilian prime minister in a transitional government; Hamdok’s office called on the Sudanese people to take to the streets, where soldiers met protesters with violence, fatally shooting at least seven people and injuring well over a hundred more. According to the information ministry, soldiers also raided the state broadcaster and detained staffers there; the Sudan Journalists Network reported that other journalists have been arrested, too. As the coup unfolded, the internet went down across swathes of the country—a tactic that recalled the intense censorship tactics of Omar al-Bashir, who held power in Sudan for thirty years prior to being toppled in 2019. The work of transitioning to press freedom in Sudan was far from complete even prior to the coup, and its prospects now look bleak. “At a critical moment in the country’s history,” Justin Shilad, a Middle East and North Africa researcher at the Committee to Protect Journalists, said, “journalists must be free to report the news and have full access to telecommunications services to do it.”

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Source: The coup in Sudan and a dismal moment for press freedom across North Africa | Columbia Journalism Review

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