Al-Jazeera Khartoum office closed

LeadMagnet

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Mar 26, 2003
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The country's official news agency accused al-Jazeera and its reporter Islam Salih Bello of lies and distortion.

Police raided the office on Wednesday, seizing equipment including cameras.

Staff said they had often received threats from Sudan's national security forces over their coverage of events.

An official statement from the Sudanese National Security Authority said al-Jazeera, through its Khartoum office and its correspondent, Mr Belo, "took to preparing and transmitting a number of programmes and materials stuffed with false information".

It accused the reporter of "poor, biased analyses and with pictures and scenes selected to serve [his reports'] ends."

Grasping control

The authorities' discontent stems from reports carried by the station regarding tuberculosis, landmine victims in Sudan and events in the western Darfur region.

The statement further accused the al-Jazeera correspondent of exploiting events "of provocation, lying, fabrication, distortion and colouring the facts in an unmistakably poor professional performance".

Mr Bello had also filed reports outlining how the Sudanese authorities had previously entered his offices and confiscated his broadcasting equipment.

In a report about the seizure, Mr Bello had said the authorities were security forces sent by the government.

But the authorities maintain that the men were customs officials "acting in a legal and civil manner".

They took transmission devices from Mr Bello that they deemed to have been imported illegally, the statement said.

Sudanese officials have said Mr Bello will remain under arrest and the al-Jazeera offices in Khartoum will remain closed until the station corrects the alleged factual errors.

Looks like a bad week for the press in African countries.

Article
 

sandorski

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Oct 10, 1999
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Censorship? The article doesn't go into details, but it sounds like someone doesn't want something exposed.
 

LeadMagnet

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Mar 26, 2003
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I forgot to include this article in the first post - justifying my comment that African coutries are oppressing the press.

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A lawyer for the Daily News told the BBC that police had ordered home staff who were trying to produce the paper's first edition since October.

Earlier, a judge in Bulawayo ruled the paper had the right to publish, despite its closure under tough new media laws.

Zimbabwe's information minister said that judgement had no legal force.

Jonathan Moyo called the ruling "outrageously political, unacceptable".

He said in the Herald newspaper that an appeal had already been lodged with the Supreme Court.

The Daily News, a strong critic of President Robert Mugabe's government, was shut down by police three months ago, under tough media laws passed after Mr Mugabe's controversial re-election last year.

But a Bulawayo administrative court upheld a previous ruling that a government-appointed commission should have awarded the newspaper a licence.

In court on Friday in Zimbabwe's second city, Judge Selo Nare revealed the contents of a threatening letter sent to him signed by "War liberators and sons and daughters of the soil".

The letter was quoted as saying: "Any such bad judgement by you will result in serious suffering by you personally and members of your family".

Lawyers for the paper say the judge has now asked for police protection.

Media monopoly

Since opening in 1999, the Daily News has seen its editors arrested on several occasions and its printing press was bombed in January 2001 shortly after Mr Moyo said it was "a threat to national security which had to be silenced."

DAILY NEWS TIMELINE OF WOE
1999: Launched
2000-2001: Editors, journalists arrested several times
Jan 2001: Printing press bombed
2002: New media law passed
July 2003: Appeals against media law
Sep 2003: Closed
24 Oct 2003: Court rules it should be licensed
25 October: Back on the streets, closed again
19 Dec 2003: Court ruling upheld
The paper was closed by armed police for not registering under the new media laws.

The Daily News had challenged the laws on constitutional grounds.

After its closure, the Daily News applied for a licence, which was rejected by the Media Commission.

On 24 October, Mr Majuru ruled that the paper should be licensed by 30 November and should be allowed to publish in the meantime.

It returned to the streets on 25 October but was shut down again shortly afterwards.

The government controls Zimbabwe's two other daily newspapers and all television and radio stations.
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