KHARTOUM (AFP) – Sudan’s government-run press council on Sunday accused the powerful state security bureau of interference in its work and called on authorities to disband the media body if it cannot function.
The council, which licenses newspapers and registers journalists, made its highly unusual call after the powerful National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) suspended a prominent chief editor.
“The council views what happened as direct intervention by the security service,” the media body said in a statement which also cited censorship and suspension of newspapers by the NISS.
“The council sees all this as against its role and its duty to monitor press work in the country.”
Making its strongest statement in years, the council said that it was sending a memorandum to President Omar al-Bashir asking authorities to let it carry out its duty “or end the job of the press council”.
Al-Nour Ahmed Al-Nour, who led the respected Al-Sahafa daily, said last Thursday that NISS agents had informed him of his suspension — a rare action against such a prominent journalist.
He said the decision appeared to be linked to a dispute over the censorship process, which journalists say NISS continues to impose.