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Sudan suspends work of Saudi- and UAE-owned TV channels

April 3, 2024 at 9:33 am

Smoke rises as clashes continue between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), in Khartoum, Sudan on May 1, 2023 [Ahmed Satti/Anadolu Agency]

Sudan on Tuesday suspended the work of Saudi state-owned broadcasters Al Arabiya, Al Hadath and UAE-owned Sky News Arabia channel, Reuters has reported. According to the Sudanese state news agency, SUNA, this is “due to the lack of commitment to the required professionalism and transparency and failure to renew licences.”

The Sudanese Journalists’ Syndicate condemned the decision by the information ministry, saying it was a clear violation of freedom of expression and freedom of the press. “Closing satellite channels and restricting those working in the profession would silence the voice of the professional media, and would also open the door to the spread of rumours and hate speech,” it claimed on Tuesday.

Al Hadath said on X that it had not yet been notified of the decision to suspend the work of its channel and Al Arabiya in Sudan. “We were surprised to hear of the decision to stop Al Hadath and Al Arabiya channel [announced] on state tv.”

Sudanese television has recently accused Sky News of using old video clips of ISIS/Daesh fighters, claiming that they were fighting alongside the Sudanese army against the Rapid Support Forces in what is effectively a civil war in Sudan, which is approaching its first anniversary. The war erupted over disputes about the powers of the army and the paramilitary RSF under an internationally-backed plan for a political transition towards civilian rule and free elections.

Tensions between Sudan and the UAE culminated with Khartoum filing a complaint against Abu Dhabi in the UN Security Council, on charges of supporting the RSF militia, led by Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo.

“The UAE continues to provide support to the Rapid Support Forces, and this includes aggression that contravenes the UN Charter, and poses a serious threat to regional and international security and peace,” said Khartoum in its complaint. “Since 15 April, 2023 until today, Sudan, its people and its armed forces have been subjected to a large-scale war of aggression that was sinfully planned and maliciously prepared by the United Arab Emirates, through the Rapid Support Forces militia and other rogue militias allied with it, as well as militia groups and mercenaries from nine different countries.”

In the complaint, Sudan has also accused Chad, which borders the Sudanese region of Darfur, of being a party to the aggression against Sudan alongside the UAE.

In December, the Sudanese authorities declared 15 employees of the UAE Embassy to be persona non grata and ordered them to leave the country within 48 hours.

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