Sudan bans newspapers, TV stations over Bashir ties

Sudan bans newspapers, TV stations over Bashir ties
The decision was made by a committee tasked by Sudan's transitional authorities with dismantling institutions linked to Bashir.
3 min read
07 January, 2020
Bashir was ousted in April [Getty]
Sudan banned two newspapers and two television stations on Tuesday, saying they had received funding from the government of former president Omar al-Bashir who was ousted last year following protests.

The decision was made by a committee tasked by Sudan's transitional authorities with dismantling institutions linked to Bashir and his defunct National Congress Party. 

The ban covers the dailies Al-Sudani and Al-Ray Al-Am and satellite channels Ashrooq and Tayba along with their parent companies, according to committee member Taha Othman. 

"These institutions were funded by the state and we want to return the money to the Sudanese people," said Mohamed al-Fekki, a member of Sudan's transitional ruling council. 

By Tuesday evening, Ashrooq and Tayba channels stopped broadcasting. 

Diaa al-Din Belal, Al-Sudani's editor-in-chief, denied receiving funds from Bashir's government.

"We operate under a private company and we did not receive any funds from a party or a government authority," he told AFP. 

Last month, the Sudanese government announced the closure of ten "Islamic-focused" TV channels, including one headed by the hardline Islamist cleric, Abdelhayy Youssef.

In a formal statement, the Sudanese ministry for culture and information relayed its decision to "dismantle" the major broadcaster, Alandalous Media Production and Distribution, owner of Islamic-themed Tayba TV, for operating over ten "unauthorised" TV channels.

The ministry added that the decision was made in line with the regulations of the national broadcasting authority and its 2019 constitution, which state that television and network broadcasting is a "national concern".

The mass closure encompassed channel broadcasting in a variety of regional languages, including Hausa, Swahili, Tigre and English. All aimed to communicate an "Islamic message to Africa", according to Al Jazeera's Arabic-language site. 

Taybe TV is run by prominent Islamist cleric Abdelhay Youssef, known widely for his fiery speeches and outspoken support for ousted Islamist ruler Omar Al-Bashir.

Local media reports have accused Youssef of maintaining ties with Al-Qaeda and providing financial assistance for the training of fighters of the Islamic State group in Libya.

In October, the ultraconservative preacher decried the inauguration of Sudan's first ever women's football league and the female minister for sports, Wala Essam, for her "special attention to women's sport and women's football".

Read more: 32 days in December? Sudan forgets about New Year

Sudan adopted Sharia law in 1983, six years before Bashir seized power in an Islamist-backed coup.

Bashir was ousted last April after mass protests against his three-decade rule rocked Sudan for months.

Sudan is currently ruled by a civilian-majority body formed after a power-sharing deal signed in August by protest leaders and the generals who ousted Bashir.

In December, Bashir was sentenced to two years' imprisonment for corruption in the first of several cases against the ousted autocrat.

He was charged with illicitly receiving millions of dollars from Saudi Arabia.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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