REEDOM ON THE
Act since its enactment in 2007,
the Act inherently contradicts Sudan’s constitutional protection
of freedom of expression and fundamentally undermines internet freedom in the country.
For bloggers and online activists, the press and criminal laws have been more dangerous. In 2009,
the government revised the highly restrictive 2004 Press and Printed Press Materials Law, which
continued to allow for restrictions on the press in the interests of national security and public order
and holds editors-in-chief liable for all content published in their newspapers.
There is no specific
reference to online media, though the press law’s broad wording allows for its application to online
content. In December 2012, a new draft press law was presented to the national assembly that aims
to further restrict media freedom in Sudan. While the draft law has yet to be publicly released, a
member of the Sudanese National Council revealed in an interview with the Doha Centre for Media
Freedom in April 2013 that the new law would include regulations on online media.
the authorities also restrict media freedom through the 2010 National Security Act, which gives the
NISS immunity from persecution and the permission to arrest, detain and censor newspapers under
the pretext of national security.
Furthermore, Sudan’s judiciary is not independent and has taken
peremptory actions in cases of freedom of expression.
Since the Arab Spring events in 2011, journalists in Sudan have faced increasing harassment and
with at least 20 journalists and editors subjected to fines, interrogations, detentions,
jail sentences, or trials for charges ranging from defamation, publishing false information, or
undermining the constitution in 2012.
According to the Sudanese Bloggers Network, bloggers
and citizen journalists have also been increasingly harassed or detained in recent years, particularly
during times of protest.
In one notable case, the popular blogger and Twitter-user Usamah Mohamed was arrested on June
22, 2012 while covering protests in the Burri neighborhood of Khartoum.
As one of the most
prominent bloggers using the Twitter hashtag #SudanRevolts to live-tweet the events of the
protest, Usamah was detained along with his brother for documenting the arrest of other protestors
on Twitter and for posting a video on Al-Jazeera of himself explaining his reasons for taking part in
Interview with a press freedom advocate in Khartoum, Sudan, January 16, 2012.
Committee to Protect Journalists, “Repressive press law passed in Sudan,” press release, June 11, 2009,
Reem Abbas, “Proposed Sudan Media Law Targets Press Freedom,” Al‐Monitor, January 17, 2013, http://www.al‐
monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/01/sudan‐press‐freedom.html#ixzz2OY2WyeL3; Ahmed Vall, “‘New Law Will Grant Greater
Media Freedom in Sudan,’” Doha Centre for Media Freedom, April 7, 203, http://www.dc4mf.org/en/content/new‐law‐will‐
“Sudanese Security Service Carries Out Brutal Campaign Against Opponents,” Amnesty International, July 19, 2010,
“Journalists Face Increasing Harassment in Sudan,” Amnesty International, May 3, 2012,
Journalists are Amel Habbani, Nahid Al‐Hassan, Faisal Mohamed Salih, Omer Al‐Garrai, Saad Al‐Deen Ibrahim, Fatima
Ghazzali, Faiz Al‐Seleik, Abdullah Al‐Sheikh, Mohamed Lateif, Zeinab Mohamed Salih, Gafaar Al‐Subki and Hassan Ishaq, among
Interview with Sudanese Bloggers Network, January 23, 2013.