Sudan authorities allow reopening of Al Jazeera’s Khartoum office

Qatar-based network welcomes move, says it hopes Sudan will support media freedom and protection of journalists.

Protests in Sudan
The TMC and an alliance of opposition groups will sign a power-sharing deal on Saturday [File: Anadolu]

Authorities in Sudan have allowed the reopening of Al Jazeera Media Network’s office in the capital, more than two months after ordering its closure during months-long pro-democracy demonstrations in the country.

Security officers in late May had informed Al Jazeera of the ruling Transitional Military Council’s decision to close the network’s office in Khartoum.

The ruling generals, who took office in April after overthrowing long-time President Omar al-Bashir in the wake of popular protests against his autocratic rule, had also withdrawn the work permits for the correspondents and staff of the network with immediate effect.

In a statement on Friday, Al Jazeera welcomed the decision about the reopening of its bureau, saying the move was “further testament to the network’s professionalism”.

“It is a right given by international law for journalists and media outlets to carry out their role,” the Qatar-based network said.

“In this regard, we hope that the Sudanese authority’s decision to reopen the bureau rings in a new phase in the country’s stance towards media freedom and the protection of journalists.”

The shutting down of Al Jazeera’s operations in Sudan came just days before a deadly crackdown on a major sit-in Khartoum, the centre of the protesters’ months-long struggle for civilian rule.

At the time of the closure, Al Jazeera denounced the “abrupt” move and the banning of its reporters from reporting in the country, calling it “a complete violation of the freedom of the press”.

The decision to reopen the bureau comes on the eve of the signing ceremony of a power-sharing agreement between the TMC and an alliance of opposition groups.

Source: Al Jazeera