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IPI calls on government to allow journalists full access to Darfur, halt repression of media

(IPI/IFEX) - The following is an abridged version of a 14 May 2007 IPI press release:

Istanbul, 14 May 2007

RESOLUTIONS PASSED BY THE 56th IPI GENERAL ASSEMBLY

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IPI Resolution on Full Access to Darfur for Journalists

Meeting at its Annual General Assembly on 14 May 2007 in Istanbul, Turkey, the IPI membership adopted a resolution calling on the government to grant all journalists full access to the Darfur region and to halt its repression of local media and journalists in Sudan over the last 14 months.

The security services have reviewed the contents of local newspapers before publication; some newspapers have been banned. In the same period, local and foreign journalists have been arrested and others intimidated or beaten by the security services.

These bureaucratic barriers include the need for special permits from the security services and a requirement to produce photocopies of travel permits at Interior Ministry offices to travel in Sudan.

The government also has an informal "blacklist" of foreign journalists who manage to evade these obstacles, and who produce critical reports.

Foreign journalists have sought to enter Sudan through Chad without visas. As a consequence, foreign journalists have been arrested and charged with espionage and false reporting.

The IPI membership reminds the Sudanese government that the media acts as an early warning for famines, conflicts and other states of emergency. By denying the foreign media access and repressing its media, the Sudanese government is undermining this role, jeopardising its population.

The IPI membership calls on the Sudanese government to remove all restrictions on foreign and local media and to allow journalists to report freely without fear of harassment or intimidation.

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For the full text of the resolutions passed at the 56th IPI general assembly, see: http://www.freemedia.at/cms/ipi/statements_detail.html?ctxid=CH0055&docid=CMS1179154566409

IPI, the global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists, is dedicated to the furtherance and safeguarding of press freedom, the protection of freedom of opinion and expression, the promotion of the free flow of news and information, and the improvement of the practices of journalism.

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