SUDAN: AUTHORITIES DETAIN REUTERS, AFP REPORTERS IN KHARTOUM – INFORMATION COUNCIL

Sudanese authorities have detained a Reuters stringer and an AFP reporter who were covering protests in the capital Khartoum, the country's external information council, which deals with foreign media organizations, said.

Reuters last had contact with its stringer early on Wednesday before he went to report on the demonstrations which resulted in clashes between police and protesters. Sudan has seen a wave of unrest over soaring living costs.

An official in the external information council, contacted by Reuters, did not say whether charges would be brought against the two Sudanese journalists.

We do not know the circumstances of the detention and are actively seeking additional information about the situation, a Reuters spokesperson said.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said five local journalists had also been arrested and called for the immediate release of all the reporters.

By arresting and intimidating journalists, confiscating newspapers and attempting to censor news dissemination, the Sudanese authorities keep trying to get journalists to stick to the official narrative or pay the price, CPJ Middle East and North Africa program coordinator Sherif Mansour said in a statement.

The Sudanese authorities arrested the journalists while they were reporting on demonstrations in Khartoum, according to the statement, which cited news reports and the independent Sudanese Journalists Network.

The Sudanese official declined to comment on the CPJ report.

In WASHINGTON, the United States condemned Sudan's arbitrary detention of journalists Friday after an AFP reporter and two colleagues were arrested covering a street protest.

Abdelmoneim Abu Idris Ali of Agence France-Presse and at least two more journalists were taken away by authorities on Wednesday as they reported on a demonstration against rising food prices.

"We are aware of the detentions and are closely following the reports," US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.

"We condemn the harassment, arbitrary detention and attacks on journalists in Sudan who are doing their jobs and exercising their fundamental right to freedom of expression."

"We remain deeply concerned about freedom of expression, including for members of the media, the closing of political space for all Sudanese, and Sudan's poor overall human rights record," Nauert said.

"We continue to press Sudan to improve its performance in these areas, and to ensure that those detained are treated humanely and fairly... and that they are allowed access to legal counsel and their families."

Idris Ali, a 51-year-old who has worked for AFP for nearly a decade, was covering protests Wednesday in the city of Omdurman, where riot police fired tear gas at some 200 protesters.

Source: NAM News Network

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