Sudan's most popular daily back after ban during demos

AFP , Sunday 3 Nov 2013

The paper had been closed since late September after the government slashed fuel subsidies during anti-governmental protests

Sudan's most popular newspaper, run by President Omar al-Bashir's uncle, returned to the streets Sunday after a month-long closure ordered by state security agents during fuel-price protests.

"Thanks be to God. We are back," read the headline on a column written by Al-Intibaha boss Al-Tayeb Mustafa.

The paper had been closed since late September after the government slashed fuel subsidies, pushing up prices at the pump by more than 60 percent.

The decision sparked the worst urban unrest of Bashir's 24-year rule with dozens killed and hundreds detained.

Journalists complained that censorship intensified during the demonstrations.

The Committee to Protect Journalists, a New York-based watchdog, said Sudan was using "censorship and intimidation" in an effort to make reporters stick to the official line about the protests.

Al-Intibaha had been a regular critic of the decision to cut government fuel subsidies.

"I will continue to raise the main issues, as I did before," newspaper chief Mustafa wrote in his Sunday column.

The pan-Arab satellite channel Sky News Arabia, also ordered shut during the demonstrations, was allowed to resume work last Thursday.

But Al-Arabiya, a second pan-Arab station closed at the same time, has still not been allowed to restart operations in Khartoum.

In an 28 October speech to parliament, Bashir hinted that press censorship would ease now that the situation "has returned to normal".

Sudan ranks near the bottom, at 170 out of 179, in the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) 2013 World Press Freedom Index.

Short link: