By Mohammed Amin
KHARTOUM (AA) – Sudan on Thursday announced its intention to drop all pending legal cases against journalists and media organizations.
Addressing reporters, Salah Abdullah Gosh, head of Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), said the government hoped to “turn a new page” in its relations with the Sudanese press.
“Today, the NISS announces its intention to drop all legal cases raised by the NISS against newspapers and journalists,” Gosh declared.
“This represents a new page in our relations with the press in Sudan,” he said.
Sudanese Parliament Speaker Ibrahim Ahmed Omer, meanwhile, announced the reversal of an earlier decision banning journalists from covering parliamentary affairs.
Alsadig al-Rizigi, head of the Sudanese Journalists’ Union, for his part, welcomed the move, describing it as a “historical decision” that would usher in a “new era of free expression”.
“We welcome this decision by the NISS,” al-Rizigi said, describing the move as “a positive step towards better relations between the press and the national security apparatus”.
Sudanese journalists frequently complain of heavy-handed treatment by Sudan’s security apparatus, including the frequent confiscation of newspapers and harassment of reporters.
According to the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders, Sudan ranks among the 10 worst countries in terms of press freedom and the freedom of expression.