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Radio station's Khartoum office raided and shut down, 13 staff members arrested

(ANHRI/IFEX) - The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) denounces the closing down of Radio Dabanga in Khartoum. The closure is related to their reporting on the Darfur conflict. Sudanese officials were outraged by the station's coverage and decided to close down its office. Radio Dabanga, broadcasting from Holland, joins the long list of recently closed and harassed media outlets in the lead-up to the separation referendum. The list of recently-closed radio channels in Sudan now includes the BBC, Monte Carlo and Dabanga.

Sudanese security forces raided the channel's office on 2 November 2010, arrested nearly 13 staff members and closed the office. The Sudanese government has frequently urged the Dutch government to bar the channel, then recently decided to close its office in Khartoum.

In a separate case, Sudanese security raided the office of the Human Rights and Democracy Network and arrested several journalists and activists during the week of 1 November.

According to ANHRI, "The oppression of freedom of expression has not stopped since el-Bashir came to power. However, the siege and inhibition imposed on media and newspapers displays the severe governmental intolerance towards the media adopting different views and stances regarding Darfur or the forthcoming referendum. Closing the offices of the BBC, Monte Carlo and Dabanga radio channels is an example of hostility to impartial independent media."

"Disregarding the Sudanese constitution and law is an unacceptable practice of the Sudanese government when dealing with media and in the frequent assaults on freedom of expression."

ANHRI urges all stakeholders, individuals and organizations to act promptly to pressure the Sudanese government in order to stop the continued repression against media freedoms and to provide the right to peaceful expression of all opinions in line with or opposing the government.

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