AFEX Welcomes Reopening of Al Jazeera’s Khartoum Office, Urges Sudanese Authorities to Uphold Press Freedom

The African Freedom of Expression Exchange (AFEX) welcomes the reopening of the Khartoum Office of Qatar-based, Al Jazeera a couple of months ago after the Sudan Transitional Military Council (TMC). shut down the media house. by

The TMC on August 15, 2019 informed the management of Al Jazeera about its decision to allow the media outlet to operate in the country.

In a statement issued by the TV Channel on Friday (Aug. 16), Al Jazeera welcomed the decision about the reopening of its bureau, saying the move was “further testament to the network’s professionalism”.

“It is a right given by international law for journalists and media outlets to carry out their role,” the Qatar-based network said.

The TMC, came into office after the ousting of former Sudanese dictator, Omar Al-Bashir late April 2019, amidst continuing mass protests against what the citizens considered to be unwelcome high jacking of their revolution.

 On May 30, 2019, the junta ordered the closure of the TV Channel as part of a crackdown on foreign and local media providing coverage of the upheaval in the country. AFEX reported at the time that the shutdown of the Al Jazeera bureau and the revocation of the licenses of its staff in Khartoum was an attempt by the military council to stop the TV station from covering the protests and other developments that were happening in the country.

There was a deadly crackdown on protesters on June 3, 2019 which reportedly resulted in the death of hundreds of protesters and injury to several others. 

After several months of clashes with protesters and squabbling with the opposition leaders in Sudan, the TMC on August 20, 2019 signed a power sharing agreement with protest leaders. The decision to allow Al Jazeera to reopen its offices and resume reporting in the country is widely perceived to be in the new spirit of peace and reconciliation.

AFEX welcomes the decision of the Sudanese authorities to reopen the station as their commitment to uphold and defend press freedom in the country. AFEX is also confident that the authorities in Sudan will adopt concrete measures to improve the overall press freedom situation and to promote the safety of journalists and other media professionals working in the country.