Page last updated at 13:29 GMT, Monday, 17 November 2008

Arrests at Sudan censorship rally

Map of Sudan

Police in Sudan have arrested more than 60 journalists during a protest against media censorship, witnesses say.

Riot police armed with canes and shields rounded up the journalists outside parliament and took them to a police station, witnesses say.

Those detained have subsequently been released, officials say.

Demonstrators said they had been protesting against a press crackdown under way despite guarantees of media freedom in a 2005 peace deal.

Those arrested included senior editorial staff and a number of women, witnesses said.

Murtada el-Ghali, editor in chief of the Ajras al-Hurriya newspaper, told AFP news agency that police had taken mobile phones and money from some of those arrested.

"We are in one room," he said.

"We are sitting on the floor. They took our names. I am the only editor in chief, but there are editing managers, high-ranking journalists and 27 girls among us."

There have been weeks of protests against media censorship in Sudan led by Ajras al-Hurriya and two other papers.

The 2005 peace agreement that brought an end to Sudan's north-south civil war is meant to uphold freedom of expression and the press.

But correspondents say laws guaranteeing media freedom have not been passed and the government keeps tight control over what newspapers publish.

Editors say that newspapers are now subject to nightly checks by the security forces who routinely remove articles they do not approve of.

The former southern rebels, the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), have condemned the arrests.

Print Sponsor

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific