Reporters in Sudan have faced threats, arrest, and torture from President Omar al-Bashir’s security forces as they try to cover the anti-Bashir protest happening in major cities throughout Sudan. Violence against demonstrators is growing as 37 protesters have been shot dead and over 200 wounded in protest recently. “The number is higher than 37 as new protesters have been killed,” the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors told Bloomberg. Journos in Sudan plan to protest for 3 days and join Sudanese doctors who went on strike soon after the uprising started last week.
The Sudanese Journalist Network issued a statement that they have experienced threats, arrest, and torture from president Omar al-Bashir’s security forces for reporting on the protest in major cities that have been engulfing the country. The statement urged the Sudanese Government to respect their “freedom of expression.” Good journalism is the guardian of truth, and as a global society we need adversarial journalistic minds especially in countries that have dictatorships like Sudan.
Thousands have been arrested in the protest which started because of skyrocketing inflation that has lead to high food and fuel prices. Sudan historically is no stranger to unrest. Sudan’s current president Omar al-Bashir originally came to power during a military coup in 1989 and there have been sporadic uprisings since al-Bashir’s reign began including what was dubbed the Sudanese Intifada which lasted from 2011 to 2013 during the Arab Spring.
Sudan has seen a volatile economy since South Sudan gained its independence in 2011, and with this secession South Sudan walked away with over 60% of Sudan’s overall oil reserves. Inflation in Sudan is up over 70% which has caused the cost of living to rise across the country inciting nationwide protest. President Omar al-Bashir has repeatedly blamed the widespread protest on “foreign countries and mercenaries.”
Protesters are demanding that President Omar al-Bashir step down immediately. Al-Bashir has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity and continues to violate human rights on a daily basis in Sudan. Citizens should be able to protest their governments without the inevitability of being tortured or killed. It is our duty as the journalists of this crazy world to stand up and speak out for oppressed voices especially when they are our fellow journalists.
You can read more from Joziah Thayer at WEDA Coalition.