Sudan journalists on hunger strike over closed newspaper


Sudan journalists on Tuesday kicked off a hunger strike protesting the decision by the government of President Omar al-Bashir to suspend El Tayar daily newspaper.

Over 30 journalists have vowed not to lift strike until the newspaper returns to the press.

Security authorities suspended the newspaper publications for an indefinite period on 15 December 2016.

Khaled Fathi, editor-in-chief, told Radio Dabanga on Monday they were protesting the censorship on newspapers in the country.

“The journalists will not eat, but are allowed to drink water, during the strike that will continue day and night in the office,” Fathi told the radio.

The journalists even tied their hands with chains as a symbolic expression of the restrictions on the freedom of expression in Sudan.

No reasons were given for the indefinite suspension of El Tayar in December, according to editor-in-chief Osman Mirghani.

However, this came after the newspaper’s editorials sharply criticised the Finance Minister’s proposal to lift subsidies on wheat, flour, fuel and electricity in 2016.

Sudanese throughout the country now face high food prices, shortages of flour, and difficulties to obtain cooking gas because of the lifted subsidies.

El Tayar has ever been suspended indefinitely; in February 2012, it only resumed publication after a decision by the Constitutional Court.

According to Sudan Tribune, politicians including the deputy chairman of the National Umma Party (NUP) Mariam al-Mahdi and member of the Central Committee of the Sudanese Communist Party (SCP) Suleiman Hamid, have joined the strike.

Last week, Al-Tayyar launched a campaign to collect one million signatures to demand the lift of ban on the newspaper.

In February of last year, security agents seized entire print runs of 14 newspapers in one day without stating the reasons for its decision.

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