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Journalists see government crackdown in Sudan

The Sudanese government has taken steps to help control censorship in the country following a string of protests, prompting a number of journalists to strike.

An economic form of censorship has emerged in the African country of Sudan. A series of protests have erupted throughout the country following a number of controversial economic measures by the government. While some of the publications have always been owned by the company, there were still a number of prominent independent newspapers as well that were able to offer alternative perspectives.

New ownership
However, the government has recently bought the controlling stock in a number of these independents. The National Intelligence Security Service purchased 65 percent of Al-Sahara recently while the same organization purchased 80 percent of stock of Al-Khartoum. In total now, the NISS controls about 90 percent of the independent news papers in the entire country, according to the Index on Censorship.

These sales comes as many writers and editors in the region have grown increasingly frustrated with the kind of government control that has been imposed upon them lately. Because of these restrictions many feel that they are either compromising ownership of their paper or their integrity as journalists. Through the government ownership of these publications, it can control the spin and kind of content that gets published.

Journalists strike
Out of these mounting frustrations, especially in the context of the recent protests, a union of journalists in the country have gone on strike. According to the World Bulletin, the Sudanese Journalists Network announced a general strike in reaction to these censorship and austerity measures.

The news source explains that these protests have led to police brutality resulting the deaths of a number of Sudanese citizens. Reports have been conflicting surrounding the death count in the country, with activists saying 70 have died at the hands of the government, and authorities saying 29.

Many dailies have been prohibited from publishing because of how they have covered the protests. This puts a number of these writers in compromising positions as they must either compromise their being published or their journalistic integrity. Similar protests have taken place in other African countries like Tunisia, where journalists went on strike over similar censorship issues. 

The role of journalists is to make sure that they are perpetuating the news as they believe it happens. When government agendas get in the way of the enacting of these goals, the reporting of news becomes distorted. When controversial government decisions are made, who should be reporting about them – the ruling power or its citizens?

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