Media Activists Demand the Release of Prominent Sudanese Editor and Journalist

Photo credits: Sudanow Magazine

After a recent failed coup attempt, Sudan’s Transitional Military Council (TMC) arrested Sadiq Al-Rizaigi, a distinguished leader of the Sudanese press.

According to the Al-Jazeera Media Network, Al-Rizaigi (pictured) was taken into custody by the TMC this past Wednesday (July 24). He is the leader of the Sudanese Journalists’ Union, the largest and most organized press union in Sudan. Al-Rizaigi is also the Editor-in-Chief of Sudan’s Al-Sayha newspaper.

A tenured writer and reporter for Al-Sayha told Agence France-Presse that Al-Rizaigi was arrested right outside his newspaper’s headquarters. The Sudanese Journalists’ Union has voiced its displeasure over Al-Rizaigi’s arrest at the hand of Sudan’s TMC. A spokesperson for the union has called for him to be “released immediately” or put on trial.

Awad Jad Al-Sayid, a news editor for Al-Sahya told Agence France-Presse that the TMC has not revealed here Al-Rizaigi is being jailed or given justification for his arrest.

“We do not know where he is being held or the reasons for his detention,” Al-Sayid said.

However, the TMC has offered details about the individuals it detained after uncovering a recent coup attempt. On July 11, a TMC spokesman announced that his government arrested General Hashim Abdel Muttalib. General Muttalib was formerly the head of the TMC’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The TMC also announced that it had arrested high-ranking officials from the National Intelligence and Security Service, the Islamic Movement, and the National Congress Party. Many Sudanese journalists were severely repressed under the regime of Omar Al-Bashir, Sudan’s now deposed president.

This sad reality has remained the case since Al-Bashir’s April 2019 ouster. Reporters Without Borders (a global, free press watchdog organization) published a report on June 26, which outlined the systemic oppression of independent media sources in Sudan.

“The transitional military authorities have resumed the system of persecuting the media that prevailed under Omar Al-Bashir’s dictatorship, one that gave Sudan its extremely low ranking in the World Press Freedom Index,” said Arnaud Froger, head of the African division of Reporters Without Borders.

“This policy is blocking Sudanese desires for an open public debate in which journalists are free to establish the facts and criticize the authorities,” Froger also said.

So far this year, Sudan has been cited by Reporters Without Borders for 100 free press violations.