Over a month into anti-government protests now in northern Sudan, well over 800 activists, journalists and citizens have been arrested and more than 40 are dead as a result of President Omar Al-Bashir’s crackdown.
Ethical disputes have also arisen from the government shutting down access to social media sites amidst attacks carried out by military and police forces against civilians, which have included the use of live ammunition.
As a result, the Committee to Protect Journalists has called on the National Security and Intelligence Service (NSIS) to release the following three journalists: Faisal Mohamed Saleh, Ghurashi Awad and Kamal Karrar. However, to-date, only Saleh has been released.
On Monday, the government revoked the press credentials of six more media members, including correspondents for Al Arabiya and Al-Jazeera.
Through the use of hashtags “Sudan_Revolts” and its Arabic counterpart, online communities are relaying information in regions facing aggressive government use of force to help keep protesters safe. The hashtag has also been used to share information related to the whereabouts of missing Sudanese citizens in heavily targeted areas.
Online communications are being executed through virtual private networks, providing access to Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp — all of which have been blocked by Sudan’s internet service providers.
“There was a discussion in the government about blocking social media sites and in the end, it was decided to block them,” said NNS head Salah Abdallah on Dec. 21, 2018.
The recent protests stem from rising bread and fuel prices. However, longstanding turmoil has been present as a result of Sudan’s low economic status and the poor quality of life attributed to Bashir’s authoritarian government.
Editor’s note: This article has been edited to clarify the story and correct sentence structure errors.
[Al Jazeera] [Human Rights Watch] [CPJ] [Reuters] [Photo courtesy Human Rights Watch/Getty Images]