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.

More on Sudan:
CPJ urges Sudan authorities to end suspensions of 3 news outlets
‘Back to the dark ages’: Editor Ataf Mohamed on Sudan’s wartime communications blackout
Journalists shot, beaten, and harassed covering conflict between Sudan’s rival military groups

CPJ calls for probes into Israeli attacks on journalists at refugee camp, hospital
Journalists Sami Shehadeh (center) and Sami Barhoom (right) are seen at a hospital following the Israeli attack on a Gaza refugee camp on April 12. (Screenshot: CPJ/TRT World)

On April 12, an Israel Defense Forces attack on a group of Gaza journalists wearing press insignia while reporting from the Nuseirat refugee camp resulted in Turkish broadcaster TRT cameraman Sami Shehadeh having his leg amputated. “The IDF’s disregard for press insignia, both after and prior to October 7, endangers the lives of journalists,” said CPJ’s program director, Carlos Martínez de la Serna.

CPJ called for an independent investigation into this attack, as well as the March 31 Israeli attack on the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Gaza, in which eight journalists were injured as they sheltered and worked in a tent on the hospital grounds.

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Journalists Attacked

Evan Gershkovich


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