Since the ouster of autocratic leader Omar al-Bashir, journalists in Sudan are experiencing a new wave of freedom, reporting on the continuing protests and dissent without the usual fear of government interference and intimidation.
After decades of press censorship in Sudan, a new crackdown on media was launched in December as protests across the country ramped up, demanding the resignation of longtime leader Omar al-Bashir.
As the Bashir regime’s propaganda wing came out in full force in response, only state-run media were able to operate.
But today journalists are back in the newsroom, some after their newspapers were shuttered for months by the autocratic leader’s security forces. Journalists in the capital Khartoum are now adjusting to a rapid opening up of the press after years of arrests, disappearances and intense scrutiny from the authorities.
Shamael, a reporter at “Tayyar” newspaper, was questioned and threatened by the intelligence services for her posts on social media. Now she’s free to cover issues like corruption and public demonstrations. But she is hoping it stays that way.
“If government authority is transferred to a civilian government, journalists will find freedom,” she says.
The opposition and protest leaders that led the toppling of Bashir are now continuing to demonstrate against the prospect of military rule by the same army forces that helped oust him.
And Sudan’s journalists are hoping they will hold onto their newfound right to report freely.