Grave threats to the press in Sudan’s civil war

Black smoke and flames cloud a market in Omdurman, Sudan on May 17, 2023, a month after the beginning of the country’s civil war. (Photo: Third party handout via Reuters)

When fighting erupted in Sudan on April 15 of last year, local journalists quickly ran into difficulties reporting on the conflict roiling their country. As the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces – former allies who jointly seized power in a 2021 coup – engaged in street battles, journalists were assaulted, arrested, or even killed. Others found themselves stuck at home in cities and towns under siege or unable to report due to communications blackouts. Many journalists fled, resurrecting shuttered newsrooms abroad. Yet one year into the war that has killed 14,000 people and displaced millions, journalists continue their struggle to cover its devastating impact. In a new feature, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa team analyzes the top challenges to journalism in Sudan.

Russia issues arrest warrant for exiled journalist Mikhail Zygar
CPJ honored Mikhail Zygar, then editor-in-chief of the independent Russian TV station Dozhd, with its 2014 International Press Freedom Award. Here he speaks with The Associated Press in Moscow, January 30, 2014. (AP/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
Journalist Mikhail Zygar, then editor-in-chief of the independent Russian TV station Dozhd, speaks with The Associated Press in Moscow, in 2014. (Photo: AP/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

The Russian Ministry of the Interior issued an arrest warrant for Russian journalist and writer Mikhail Zygar according to April 9 media reports. Zygar is a former editor-in-chief of now-exiled Russian broadcaster Dozhd TV (TV Rain) and a CPJ 2014 International Press Freedom Awardee.

On March 13, state news agency RIA Novosti and Telegram channel Baza reported that Zygar was charged with spreading “fake” information about the Russian army. Zygar told CPJ that the arrest warrant for him was based on this specific charge.

The charge against Zygar allegedly stems from a June 2022 post on the Russian social media platform Vkontakte about the massacre in the Ukrainian city of Bucha, according to Baza. If convicted, the journalist, who currently lives outside of Russia, could face up to 10 years in prison, according to the Russian criminal code. Zygar told CPJ that he did not write anything on Vkontakte and does not have an account on the platform.


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Journalists Attacked

Evan Gershkovich

IMPRISONED


Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich has been imprisoned in Russia since March 29, 2023. Gershkovich has been charged with espionage and is the first American journalist to face such accusations by Russia since the end of the Cold War. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison.

Gershkovich, The Wall Street Journal, and the U.S. government have all denied the espionage allegations. On April 11, 2023, the U.S. State Department designated Gershkovich as “wrongfully detained,” which unlocked a broad government effort to free him.

CPJ, media organizations, and the U.S. government have repeatedly called for his immediate release.

At least 22 journalists were imprisoned for their work in Russia at the time of CPJ’s 2023 prison census.

The Committee to Protect Journalists promotes press freedom worldwide.

We defend the right of journalists to report the news safely and without fear of reprisal.

journalists killed in 2024 (motive confirmed)
imprisoned in 2023
missing globally