Internet freedom remained largely the same in Sudan, with very limited improvements. Sudanese internet users were impacted by the military government’s continued efforts to restrict access in response to prodemocracy movements, as well as by restrictive amendments to the Law on Combating Cybercrimes (LCC)—which introduced mandatory prison sentences and fines for defaming public figures—and the conflict between the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF). Both sides in the armed conflict used inauthentic accounts to control the narrative, and the RSF’s import of Predator spyware underlined authorities’ growing reliance on tools for digital surveillance and information manipulation. Journalists faced arrests, threats, and in some cases, torture at the hands of belligerents. Social networks remained accessible during the coverage period, however, and activists leveraged social media to document human rights abuses.
After military commanders and a prodemocracy protest movement ousted the repressive regime of longtime president Omar al-Bashir and his National Congress Party (NCP) in 2019, Sudan was ruled by a transitional government in which military and civilian leaders agreed to share power until national elections could be held. The government began to enact reforms, and space for the exercise of civil liberties slowly opened. However, the process was thrown into turmoil by the late 2021 coup, which led to the dissolution of the transitional government, and the 2023 conflict between the RSF and SAF. Throughout the transition period, violence involving security forces, other armed groups, and rival ethnic communities has persisted in much of Sudan.
- Internet services were regularly intermittently disrupted after conflict began between the RSF and SAF in April 2023. Some restrictions were due to government orders, while others were the result of the RSF occupying the Sudan Telecom Company (Sudatel) Khartoum data center and attacks on or near communications infrastructure in conflict-affected areas (see A1 and A3).
- Authorities enacted nationwide internet restrictions multiple times throughout the coverage period in response to planned protests against military rule (see A3).
- In November 2022, the cabinet passed an amendment to the LCC, under which offenders will receive a mandatory prison term and a fine in cases where they defame a public figure or agency (see C2).
- Violence, online harassment, and arrests targeted at journalists in retaliation for their reporting increased after clashes between the RSF and SAF began, with both sides seeking to control the narrative and conceal human rights abuses (see C3 and C7).
- In July 2022, after tribal conflict erupted in Blue Nile State, telecommunications service providers were ordered to suspend all SIM cards not registered with a national ID number (see C4).
- In November 2022, a foreign news outlet reported that the RSF had acquired Predator, spyware that can access a target smartphone’s camera, microphone, and other features (see C5).
|Do infrastructural limitations restrict access to the internet or the speed and quality of internet connections?||1.001 6.006|
Internet penetration remains low, with 28.4 percent of the population—representing 13.5 million people—using the internet as of January 2023 according to the Digital 2023 report.1 The most recent data from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), which dates back to 2020, places the internet penetration rate at 28 percent.2
According to data from Ookla, the median mobile download and upload speeds for Sudan in March 2023 were 18.98 and 10.62 Megabits per second (Mbps), respectively. Fixed-line median download and upload speeds stood at 5.23 and 3.97 Mbps.3 ITU data showed that there were 30,426 fixed-line broadband connections in Sudan as of 2021.4
Mobile service provider Sudani, which operates under the partially state-owned Sudatel, became the first provider to begin 5G trial operations in Khartoum in February 2022.5
In December 2022, service provider Zain disclosed a plan to spend $800 million to upgrade its infrastructure in Sudan.6 In February 2023, Zain paid the Telecommunications and Post Regulatory Authority (TPRA), Sudan’s telecommunications regulator, $37 million in spectrum license fees to improve service quality.7
In January 2023, Canar Telecom signed a $15 million, six-year strategic partnership agreement with YahClick to provide satellite broadband services in Sudan.8
An unreliable electricity supply limits internet service in Sudan,9 including in major cities that have been subject to periodic power rationing. Power cuts, which can last up to 12 hours,10 usually peak in the summer when demand is highest, especially in Khartoum, where population growth and climate have intensified demand. In a December 2022 comment, Finance Minister Jibril Ibrahim said that only 40 percent of the Sudanese population enjoyed access to the country’s power supply.11 In March 2023, the Power Distribution Company declared planned power cuts for six hours a day two working days per week, and three hours per day on Saturdays.12 In December 2022, the Ministry of Oil and Energy allowed Sudanese to connect small-scale solar-power systems with the national electricity network.13
Khartoum accounted for approximately 70 percent of the country’s electricity usage as of 2019;14 most rural areas have unsteady access to electricity. The country’s internet infrastructure is generally equipped with backup generators to mitigate internet disruptions, though these generators do not always work.15
The internet infrastructure has been impacted by the armed conflict between the RSF and the SAF. Electricity outages, a lack of fuel, and inability to deliver fuel due to the security situation have led to service interruptions.16 In late April 2023, a nationwide power outage affected multiple internet service providers (ISPs).17 In early May 2023, MTN issued a statement that its relay stations in Khartoum were not operating because fuel could not be transported safely through the conflict zone.18
When available, internet infrastructure is not always reliable. Citizens of Ghibaish, in North Kordofan State, disrupted local Zain service after protesting in front of communications towers; the protesters said Zain representatives had not responded to calls to maintain or upgrade existing services.19
Telecommunications companies struggle with endemic corruption and debt to foreign lenders. The resulting lack of investment in infrastructure has caused a degradation in internet service, exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic.20
- 1Simon Kemp, “Digital 2023: Sudan,” DataReportal, February 14, 2023, https://datareportal.com/reports/digital-2023-sudan.
- 2International Telecommunications Union, “Digital Development Dashboard: Sudan,” accessed August 18, 2023, https://www.itu.int/en/ITU-D/Statistics/Dashboards/Pages/Digital-Develo….
- 3Speedtest, “Sudan Median Country Speeds,” accessed August 18, 2023, https://www.speedtest.net/global-index/sudan#mobile.
- 4International Telecommunication Union, “Fixed Broadband Subscriptions, 2000-2020,” accessed August 18, 2023, https://www.itu.int/en/ITU-D/Statistics/Pages/stat/default.aspx.
- 5Sudatel Sudan, “Good News from Sudatel!,” April 21, 2022, https://www.sudatel.sd/blog/2022/04/21/good-news-sudatel/.
- 6Developing Telecoms, “Zain commits US$800m to Sudan upgrade”, December 02, 2022, https://developingtelecoms.com/telecom-business/operator-news/14290-zai….
- 7Alhaya Press, “*لتحسين جودة شبكتها..* *زين توقع عقداً ب 37 مليون دولار لشراء ترددات اضافية [Zain signs $37 million contract to purchase frequencies and improve the quality of its network]”, February 26, 2023, https://alhayapress.com/18256/.
- 8Deborah Faboade, Africa News, “YahClick Signs a Six-Year Strategic Partnership Agreement with Canar Telecommunication”, January 30, 2023, https://africanews.space/yahclick-signs-a-six-year-strategic-partnershi….
- 9Sudan Voice, “وزارة الاتصالات تكشف أسباب ضعف الإنترنت في السودان [The Ministry of Communications reveals the reasons for the weakness of the Internet in Sudan],” October 20, 2022, https://sudan-voice.com/15737/.
- 10Altaghyeer, “مسؤول سوداني: قطوعات الكهرباء ستستمر بوتيرة أكبر والوضع أقرب للانهيار, [Electricity Cuts Will Continue at a Greater Rate and the Situation is Closer to Collapse],” December 22, 2021, https://perma.cc/DD2L-XJWA.
- 11Nabd Sudan, “جبريل.. الامداد الكهربائي يغطي 40% من سكان البلاد [Jibril.. Electricity supply covers 40% of the country's population],” December 25, 2022, https://nabdsudan.com/archives/70338.
- 12Nabd AlSudan, “الكهرباء تعلن برمجة قطوعات قاسية [Electricity announces severe cuts program]”, March 5, 2023, https://nabdsudan.com/archives/75831.
- 13Basma Aboud, “السودان: تفعيل نظام صافي القياس لربط أنظمة الطاقة الشمسية الكهروضوئية الصغيرة بشبكة الكهرباء الوطنية [Sudan: Activation of a net metering system to connect small-scale solar PV systems to the national electricity grid]”, SolArabic, December 8, 2022, https://perma.cc/46XY-MMQ5.
- 14George Tubei, “Sudan May Have to Stay in the Dark a Bit Longer After Egypt Postpones Plans to Supply Electricity in the Country,” Pulse, February 5, 2019, https://www.pulse.ng/bi/finance/sudan-may-have-to-stay-in-the-dark-a-bi….
- 15Interview with IT specialist at a large petroleum company, conducted in February 2021.
- 16Cipesa, Sudan Conflict Affects Digital Communications and Critical Services Delivery, June 5, 2023, https://cipesa.org/2023/06/sudan-conflict-affects-digital-communication….
- 17SMEX, “Sudan: Internet Shutdowns Fuel Human Rights Abuses,” April 28, 2023, https://smex.org/sudan-internet-shutdowns-fuel-human-rights-abuses/.
- 18SMEX, “Internet And Telecom Shutdowns In Sudan: Who Is Responsible?,” May 8, 2023, https://smex.org/internet-and-telecom-shutdowns-in-sudan-who-is-respons….
- 19Alfola News Net, “مواطني محلية غبيش يوقفون عمل شبكة زين [Citizens of Ghibais locality stop the Zain network]”, Facebook, January 4, 2022, https://www.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=pfbid02uhYQ8YDhBCUR1ESboy….
- 20Interview with IT specialist at a large petroleum company, conducted in February 2021.
|Is access to the internet prohibitively expensive or beyond the reach of certain segments of the population for geographical, social, or other reasons?||0.000 3.003|
Internet access is prohibitively expensive for many users, and the country’s economic crisis increased relative prices further during the coverage period. According to the General Commissioner of Social Security, the poverty rate reached 65 percent in 2022.1
Since 2011, a sustained petroleum shortage has led to drastically increasing inflation and skyrocketing prices for services,2 which continued the coverage period. The country’s inflation rate stood at 83.6 percent as of January 2023.3 In March 2022, the Ministry of Finance raised the telecommunications value-added tax (VAT) by 5 percent, which raised connectivity costs.4
Internet prices continued to rise during the coverage period, with all major providers imposing price increases.5 As of January 2023, a 1-gigabyte (GB) monthly bundle offered by Zain and Sudatel cost 982.65 ($1.71) and 855.61 Sudanese pounds ($1.49) respectively,6 which are unaffordable for most residents. The Ministry of Finance raised the minimum wage to 12,000 pounds ($20.95) for government employees in January 2021.7
Students remain disenfranchised by price increases. In July 2020, the higher education minister directed universities to commence e-learning to combat the spread of COVID-19. After critics noted that the cost of internet access is a major barrier for students’ participation in e-learning,8 in October 2021, the Ministry of Education launched a free e-learning platform in collaboration with Ministry of Telecommunications and Digital Transformation (MTDT), Microsoft, the UN Children’s Fund, and Sudan’s four main ISPs (Zain, MTN, Sudatel, and Canar Telecom).9
According to a survey conducted by Afrobarometer in 2021, only 39 percent of women in Sudan reported having mobile internet access, compared to 49.7 percent of men.10
The Universal Service Fund (USF), a government resource designed to ensure that mobile and internet networks are available for rural and lower-income populations who otherwise would be marginalized because of cost, has failed to expand access to rural communities. The USF levies taxes on telecommunications companies, though payment is reportedly an issue.11 In July 2022, Sudatel chief executive Magdi Taha said that the USF will start distributing funds to 100 telecommunication towers in the Darfur region.12
MTN and Zain provide zero-rating services by offering subscribers free, but sometimes limited, access to Facebook services.13
- 1Africa Press, “الأمان الاجتماعي: نسبة الفقر بالبلاد بلغت (65%) [Social security: the poverty rate in the country reached (65%)”, February 19, 2022, https://perma.cc/LMT6-NH4R.
- 2Khalid Abdelaziz, “Fuel shortage Hits Sudan as Dollar Crisis Hampers Imports,” Reuters, April 24, 2018, https://www.reuters.com/article/sudan-energy/fuel-shortage-hits-sudan-a….
- 3Trading Economics, “The annual inflation rate in Sudan eased to 83.6 percent in January 2023”, accessed August 18, 2023, https://tradingeconomics.com/sudan/inflation-cpi.
- 4AlNilin, “زيادة القيمة المضافة على جميع خدمات شركات الإتصالات في السودان التفاصيل هنا [Increasing the added value on all telecommunications companies’ services in Sudan],” March 30, 2022, https://www.alnilin.com/13245648.htm.
- 5“Pre-paid Internet bundles,” Sudani, accessed August 18, 2023, https://sudani.sd/prepaid-internet-packages.
- 6“Zain Mobile Internet,“ Zain, accessed January 31, 2023, https://www.sd.zain.com/English/Personal/Pages/Internet-Plans.aspx; “Daily Packages,” Sudani, accessed January 31, 2023, https://sudani.sd/en/prepaid-internet-packages/.
- 7Nazik Shamam, “السودان يرفع الحد الأدنى للأجور سبعة أضعاف [Sudan lifts the minimum wage by seven times],” Al-Andolu Agency, April 15, 2021, https://perma.cc/Q2Y6-6SPD.
- 8Wagdy Sawahel, “Universities Turn to Online Learning as Pandemic Continues,” University World News: Africa Edition, July, 23 2020, https://www.universityworldnews.com/post.php?story=20200723072151443.
- 9Sudan News Agency, “The Ministry of Education Launches an Electronic Educational Platform”, October 19, 2021, https://suna-news.net/read?id=725490; Interview with a former employee at the ministry of Education, February 2022.
- 10Afrobarometer, “Summary of Results for Sudan, 2021,” https://www.afrobarometer.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/summary_of_res….
- 11In June 2020, Adam Hereika, the Prime Minister’s economic advisor, said that there are 650 governmental companies and 200 of which under the military umbrella and only 12 companies regularly pay revenues to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning which means that most of the funds in Sudan do not make their way to the government.
- 12Sudan News Agency, “نائب رئيس مجلس السيادة يلتقي مديري شركات الاتصالات [Vice President of the Sovereignty Council meets directors of telecommunications companies]”, July 19, 2022, https://www.suna-sd.net/posts/%D9%86%D8%A7%D8%A6%D8%A8-%D8%B1%D8%A6%D9%….
- 13Mohamed Suliman, ”Sudan Needs Strong Network Neutrality Laws to Match its Growing Internet Boom,” Global Voices Advox, January 10, 2020, https://advox.globalvoices.org/2020/01/10/sudan-needs-strong-network-ne….
|Does the government exercise technical or legal control over internet infrastructure for the purposes of restricting connectivity?||1.001 6.006|
The government frequently exercises control over the internet infrastructure, and internet access was shut down nationwide and locally during the coverage period.
Between June 11 and 22, 2022, the authorities cut internet access nationwide for three hours daily, ostensibly to prevent cheating on national exams.1 Later that month, internet and phone service was restricted nationwide as protesters in Khartoum rallied against the military government.2
In October 2022, authorities in Blue Nile State restricted internet access during a tribal conflict in the Wad al-Mahi area, to curb inflammatory discourse.3 Also in October 2022, authorities restricted access nationwide for an eight-hour period as protesters marked the one-year anniversary of the 2021 coup.4 Telecommunication services were disrupted in the western Darfur village of Tandalti during an outbreak of communal violence, after a video of two men who had been murdered and mutilated was circulated on social media.5
Internet access was disrupted in April 2023 as the armed conflict between RSF and SAF began.6 On April 16, 2023, a day after fighting began, the TPRA ordered MTN to restrict internet services before reversing itself hours later.7 While authorities did not issue any further shutdown orders, infrastructure obstacles played a major role in service disruptions in Khartoum after the onset of the conflict (see A1).
Mobile subscribers were affected by outages occurring over four days in April 2023. Canar Telecom’s 83-hour outage was the longest, while Sudatel’s lasted 40 and Zain’s lasted 10. The reason for these disruptions remains unclear as of the end of the coverage period.8
Internet traffic recovered slightly following the cease-fire between the SAF and RSF in late April 2023, but intermittent disruptions persisted through the end of May 2023.11
On May 17, 2023, the cities of El Geneina and Zalingei in West Darfur were subjected to a complete telecommunications and internet blackout.12 The lack of internet access during the midst of escalating conflict in West and Central Darfur has intensified the humanitarian and security crisis, preventing the delivery of humanitarian aid, and making it difficult for residents to access information and report on fighting in El Geneina,13 which have displaced thousands of people to neighboring Chad.14 The communications blackouts in Zalingei and El Geneina were ongoing at the end of the coverage period.
In Nyala, in South Darfur, communications and internet access was also disrupted in May 2023 after a telecommunications tower was badly damaged during fighting between the RSF and SAF, which limited the ability of residents to report on the conflict as hundreds of civilians were killed, wounded, or missing.15 Service in Nyala was restored after the end of the coverage period, in September 2023.16
Sudan experienced two near-total network shutdowns, lasting 36 days and 25 days respectively, in 2019 and 2021.17 In early June 2019, security forces attacked a peaceful sit-in in Khartoum, killing 127 people, injuring hundreds more, and sexually assaulting dozens.18 The timing of the shutdown limited the spread of information about the massacre on the internet, including evidence of abuses perpetrated by security forces.19 During these disruptions, internet services were intermittently available via some Canar Telecom and Sudatel fixed-line connections.20
Sudan is connected to the global internet through international gateways controlled by Sudatel, Zain, and Canar Telecom, which are in turn connected to five submarine cables: Saudi Arabia–Sudan-1 (SAS-1), Saudi Arabia–Sudan-2 (SAS-2), Eastern Africa Submarine System (EASSy), FALCON, and Africa-1. The 2Africa Cable is expected to be operational in Sudan by 2024.21
- 1Kassem Mnejja, “Empty promises: more internet shutdowns during exams in MENA”, Access Now, August 24, 2022, https://www.accessnow.org/empty-promises-shutdowns-exams/#:~:text=Sudan….
- 2Carter Center, “Carter Center Statement on Internet Shutdown in Sudan”, June 30, 2022, https://www.cartercenter.org/news/pr/2022/sudan-063022.html; Reuters, “Eight killed in Sudan as protesters rally on uprising anniversary,” July 1, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/africa/internet-cut-sudans-capital-ahead-….
- 3Khattab Hamad, “Three Years After Al-Bashir Ouster, Sudan’s Internet Freedom Landscape Remains Precarious”, CIPESA, December 22, 2022, https://cipesa.org/2022/12/three-years-after-al-bashir-ouster-sudans-in…; UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), “Sudan: Conflict in Blue Nile State, Wad Al Mahi locality, Flash Update No. 05 (17 October 2022),” ReliefWeb, October 17, 2022, https://reliefweb.int/report/sudan/sudan-conflict-blue-nile-state-wad-a….
- 4Cloudflare Radar, “Internet access has been blocked nationwide in Sudan on the first anniversary of a coup that derailed the transition to civilian rule,” Twitter, October 25, 2022, https://twitter.com/CloudflareRadar/status/1584875368644755456?s=20.
- 5Mohamed Alaqraa, Alquds AlArabi, “أخذ القانون باليد»: قتلى وجرحى في عنف قبلي في دارفور السودانية [Taking the Law into Hand: Dead and Injured in Tribal Violence in Darfur, Sudan]”, March 24, 2023, https://www.alquds.co.uk/%D8%A3%D8%AE%D8%B0-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%82%D8%A7%D9….
- 6Cloudflare Radar, “#Sudan – Ongoing internet traffic disruption, after armed conflict broke out on Saturday,” Twitter, April 17, 2023, https://twitter.com/CloudflareRadar/status/1648054950159605762.
- 7Reuters, “UPDATE 1-Sudanese telecoms provider MTN restores internet service - MTN official,” April 16, 2023, https://www.reuters.com/article/sudan-politics-internet-idUSL1N36J071.
- 8Joao Tome, “Effects of the conflict in Sudan on Internet patterns,” Cloudflare, May 2, 2023, https://blog.cloudflare.com/sudan-armed-conflict-impact-on-the-internet….
- 9Sudan Armed Forces, “القيادة العامة للقوات المسلحة [General Command of the Armed Forces]”, Facebook, April 23, 2023, https://www.facebook.com/sudanese.armed.forces/posts/pfbid02cmG8WNptU5i….
- 10Interview with A.M, April 2023.
- 11SMEX, “Sudan: Internet Shutdowns Fuel Human Rights Abuses,” April 28, 2023, https://smex.org/sudan-internet-shutdowns-fuel-human-rights-abuses/.
- 12“Activists call to restore communications in the devastated Zalingei of Central Darfur,” Sudan Tribune, September 19, 2023, https://sudantribune.com/article277424/; “Humanitarian crisis in Darfur increases as attacks rattle Zalingei,” Dabanga Sudan, May 24, 2023, https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/humanitarian-crisis-in….
- 13Mohamed Osman, “Fighting devastates Sudan’s West Darfur: communities already reeling from waves of abuses,” Human Rights Watch, May 1, 2023, https://www.hrw.org/news/2023/05/01/fighting-devastates-sudans-west-dar….
- 14“Crisis deepens in West Darfur capital as civilians face targeting and displacement,” Sudan Tribune, June 13, 2023, https://sudantribune.com/article274453/.
- 15“Communication problems in Darfur as clashes continue,” Dabanga Sudan, May 23, 2023, https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/communication-problems….
- 16“Zain Network resumes operation in Nyala,” Darfur24, September 9, 2023, https://www.darfur24.com/en/2023/09/09/zain-network-resumes-operation-i….
- 17Tawanda Karombo, “Sudan shuts down the internet after a military coup”, QZ, October 26, 2021, https://qz.com/africa/2079718/sudan-shuts-down-the-internet-after-a-mil….
- 18Human Rights Watch, ”Sudan: Halt Attacks on Protesters,” June 4, 2019, https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/06/04/sudan-halt-attacks-protesters; Zeinab Mohammad Salid and Jason Burke, “Sudanese Doctors Say Dozens of People Raped During Sit-in Attack,” The Guardian, June 11, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jun/11/sudan-troops-protesters-a….
- 19Mohammed Suliman, ”Internet Shutdowns and the Right to Access in Sudan: A Post-Revolution Perspective,” Global Voices, September 16, 2019, https://globalvoices.org/2019/09/16/internet-shutdowns-and-the-right-to….
- 20Netblocks, ”Severe Internet Outage Across Sudan Amid Reports of Darfur Paramilitary Attacks,” June 10, 2019, https://netblocks.org/reports/severe-internet-outage-across-sudan-amid-….
- 212Africa, accessed August 18, 2023, https://www.2africacable.net/.
|Are there legal, regulatory, or economic obstacles that restrict the diversity of service providers?||3.003 6.006|
There are no legal or regulatory obstacles that restrict the diversity of service providers, though there are economic constraints.
The government is due to renegotiate its contracts with MTN and Zain when their licenses expire in 2024 and 2027, respectively.1 Four licensed telecommunications providers operate in Sudan: Canar Telecom, Zain, MTN, and Sudatel. In August 2021, the TPRA licensed three companies, Lolo Tech, Vision Valley, and Morgan Zone, to provide wireless broadband service.2 As of February 2023, Vision Valley and Morgan Zone were operating, while Lolo Tech was using its license for implementing data transmission projects.3
According to an August 2022 TPRA report, Zain holds 49 percent of the mobile-service market, while MTN holds 26 percent and Sudatel holds 25 percent. According to the same report, Thabit, Sudatel’s fixed-line brand, holds 79 percent of that market while Canar Telecom holds 21 percent.4 Zain also holds 40 percent of the mobile internet subscriptions market, while MTN and Sudatel hold 32 and 28 percent, respectively.5
MTN and Zain are primarily foreign owned.6 The government owns 30 percent of Sudatel.7 Following the ousting of the al-Bashir regime, the transitional government changed Sudatel’s board of directors; for instance, Transitional Sovereign Council (TSC) member Ibrahim Jaber Ibrahim now chairs the board.8 The al-Bashir regime reportedly had significant sway over the company’s board of directors.9
The government may also retain a stake in MTN’s Sudanese operations, after anticorruption investigators seized assets held by a prominent businessman linked to the al-Bashir regime in 2020. The assets included shares in MTN.10
Zain has reportedly maintained links to the government. Hisham Allam was appointed chief executive in 2020.11
- 1Interview with K.B, an industry source, February and March 2021.
- 2TPRA, “تاهيل ٣ شركات للعمل في مجال خدمات النفاذ اللاسلكي عريض النطاق [Qualification of 3 companies to work in the field of broadband wireless access services],” March 31, 2021, https://tpra.gov.sd/%D8%AA%D8%A7%D9%87%D9%8A%D9%84-%D9%A3-%D8%B4%D8%B1%….
- 3Author’s research.
- 4TPRA, “أهم مؤشرات الأداء لشركات الاتصالات [The most important performance indicators for telecom companies]”, August 2022, https://tpra.gov.sd/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%86%D8%B3….
- 6Zain Group, “Shareholders & Dividends,” accessed August 18, 2023, https://www.zain.com/en/investor-relations/shareholders-dividends/; Institute of Developing Economies–Japan External Trade Organization, “MTN Sudan - AGE (African Growing Enterprises) File,” accessed August 18, 2023, https://www.ide.go.jp/English/Data/Africa_file/Company/sudan01.html.
- 7Rupa Ranganathan and Cecilia Briceno-Garmendia, ”Sudan Infrastructure: A Continental Perspective (English), Africa Infrastructure Country Diagnostic, Washington, D.C. : World Bank, June 2011, https://documents.worldbank.org/en/publication/documents-reports/docume…; Stanley Carvalho, “Sudatel Plans to Invest $267 Mln to 2020,” Reuters, March 15, 2015, https://www.reuters.com/article/emirates-sudatel/sudatel-plans-to-inves….
- 8“Board of Directors,” Sudatel, accessed August 15, 2021, https://www.sudatel.sd/investor-relations/governance/board-of-directors/.
- 9Interview with unnamed local source, personal communication with author.
- 10“Sudan Govt Seizes Assets of Islamic Movement Leaders,” Radio Dabanga, April 24, 2020, https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/sudan-govt-seizes-asse…; “Sudan Seizes Over One Billion in Assets from Businessman Linked to Ousted Dictator Bashir,” The New Arab, April 24, 2020, https://english.alaraby.co.uk/news/sudan-seizes-one-billion-assets-bash….
- 11“هشام علام [Hisham Allam]”, Man Hom (Arabic Characters Guide), accessed August 18, 2023, https://manhom.com/%D8%B4%D8%AE%D8%B5%D9%8A%D8%A7%D8%AA/%D9%87%D8%B4%D8….
|Do national regulatory bodies that oversee service providers and digital technology fail to operate in a free, fair, and independent manner?||0.000 4.004|
The regulatory bodies that oversee service providers historically lacked independence, and recent changes indicate no movement toward autonomy. The TPRA, which replaced the National Telecommunications Corporation (NTC) in 2018,1 is tasked with regulating internet use and telecommunications licensing, facilitating competition, producing statistics, and developing the information and communications technology (ICT) sector.2 It is also responsible for determining what content is accessible on the internet (see B3).3
In September 2019, the TSC separated the TPRA from the Ministry of Defense and brought it under its direct administration; previously, the TPRA fell under the Ministry of Information. The decisions to place the TPRA under the purview of the Ministry of Defense, and then the TSC itself, were met with criticism, as the body has the power to engage in surveillance and restrict internet connectivity.4 In February 2021, the transitional government created the MTDT5 and brought the TPRA under its purview. In October 2021, the coup authorities arrested the MTDT minister.6 Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the military government’s leader, named Adel Hassan Mohamed Hussein to the MTDT in January 2022.7 In July 2019, Major General Sadiq Jamal al-Deen al-Sadig was appointed as the head of the TPRA. 8 Al-Sadig was involved in the decision to restrict internet access following the October 2021 coup and directed ISPs to ignore a court order to restore internet service (see A3).9
TPRA decisions, such as the decision to restrict internet access in October 2022 are seen as political in nature (see A3).
In October 2022, the government cancelled the registration of the Sudanese Consumers Protection Society (SCPS), an organization with a history of advocating against internet shutdowns.10
- 1Telecommunications and Post Regulatory Authority, “اجازة قانون تنظيم الاتصالات والبريد [Licensing of the Telecommunications and Postal Organization Act],” 2018, https://tpra.gov.sd/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Telecommunications-and-P….
- 2Telecommunications and Post Regulatory Authority, “اختصاصات الجهاز وسلطاته [The Organisation's Competencies and Powers],” 2020, https://tpra.gov.sd/about-us/roles-authorities/#1529415329306-75c50f21-….
- 3Telecommunications and Post Regulatory Authority, “طلب حجب او فتح مواقع إلكترونية [Request to Block or Open Websites],” https://tpra.gov.sd/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Telecommunications-and-P….
- 4“السودان.. البرهان يلغي قرار تبعية جهاز تنظيم الاتصالات لـ"الدفاع [Sudan ... The Proof cancels the Decision of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority's Subordination to "Defense]," Anadolu Agency, September 19, 2019, https://perma.cc/3NP6-H2FV.
- 5@SudanPMO, “د. حمدوك يؤكد أهمية دور وزارة الاتصالات والتحول الرقمي في نهضة الاقتصاد الوطني [Dr. Hamdok stresses the importance of the role of the Ministry of Communications and Digital Transformation in the renaissance of the national economy],” Twitter, March 3, 2021, https://twitter.com/SudanPMO/status/1367214588404658183.
- 6Alghad TV, “اعتقال وزير الاتصالات والتحول الرقمي هاشم حسب الرسول [The Arrest of the Minister of Communications and Digital Transformation, Hashim Hasabelrasoul],” Alghad TV, October 25, 2021, https://perma.cc/QT7D-KMX7.
- 7“السودان.. البرهان يسمي 15 وزيرا في الحكومة الجديدة [Sudan, Burhan names 15 ministers in the new government],” Alhadath News, January 20, 2022, https://perma.cc/DZW8-TBT4.
- 8“إعفاء مدير الهيئة القومية للاتصالات وتعيين لواء من سلاح الإشارة [Exempting the director of the National Communications Authority and appointing a brigade from the Signal Corps],” Al-Saiha Newspaper, July 25, 2019, https://web.archive.org/web/20201014055725/https://www.assayha.net/now/….
- 9@smex, يصر جهاز تنظيم الاتصالات والبريد" ومن خلفه السلطة العسكرية في #السودان على #قطع_الإنترنت, [The telecommunications and Postal Regulatory Authority and the military authority in Sudan, insist on cutting off the Internet], Twitter, November 11, 2021, https://twitter.com/SMEX/status/1458898711413772300?s=20&t=6c70vMLnvEhN….
- 10Sudan Tribune, “السلطات تلغي تسجيل أبرز كيان مدافع عن حقوق المستهلك في السودان [The authorities cancel the registration of the most prominent entity defending consumer rights in Sudan]”, October 23, 2022, https://sudantribune.net/article265676/; “Sudan: Humanitarian Aid Commission unlawfully cancels the registration of Sudanese Consumers Protection Society,” African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies, November 2, 2022, https://www.acjps.org/sudan-humanitarian-aid-commission-unlawfully-canc….
|Does the state block or filter, or compel service providers to block or filter, internet content, particularly material that is protected by international human rights standards?||5.005 6.006|
Score Change: The score improved from 3 to 5 because the government did not block social media platforms during the coverage period.
Sudanese authorities are known to block and filter websites and targeted one news site during the coverage period. However, authorities refrained from blocking access to social media during the period.
In September 2022, the cybercrime unit of the public prosecution ordered a block on the website of the Al-Sudani newspaper. The newspaper, which said it did not receive a complaint before the order was issued, vowed to appeal it in court.1 Despite the decision, the website remained accessible.2
The ousted al-Bashir regime openly acknowledged blocking and filtering websites that it considered “negative.”3 Websites hosting pornography reportedly became accessible in Sudan in 2019; the authorities had previously blocked most pornographic content. In July 2021, however, the TPRA announced that it would continue to block pornographic websites, citing the Telecommunications Law of 2018.4
Many internet users access social media through virtual private networks (VPNs). Many users without VPNs on their phones pay specialists at technology shops throughout Sudan to install them. While the 2020 regulations on internet filtering mandate that VPN websites be blocked (see B3),5 VPNs remained accessible through the coverage period.6
- 1Khalid AbdelAziz, “Sudanese authorities launch cases against newspaper, bar association”, Reuters, September 28, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/africa/sudanese-authorities-launch-cases-….
- 2Open Observatory of Network Interference, accessed August 18, 2023, https://explorer.ooni.org/search?since=2022-09-30&until=2023-04-19&prob….
- 3“Sudan steps up measures to block “negative” websites,” Sudan Tribune, March 25, 2014, https://sudantribune.com/article49290/.
- 4Sudan News Agency, “جهاز تنظيم الاتصالات والبريد يصدر بيانا توضيحيا [The Communications and Postal Regulatory Authority issues a clarification statement],” July 7, 2021, https://suna-news.net/posts/%D8%AC%D9%87%D8%A7%D8%B2-%D8%AA%D9%86%D8%B8….
- 5Global Voices, “How the government in Sudan legalized internet categorizing and content filtering”, August 2, 2022, https://globalvoices.org/2022/08/02/how-the-government-in-sudan-legaliz….
- 6Open Observatory of Network Interference, accessed August 18, 2023, https://explorer.ooni.org/search?since=2022-06-01&until=2023-05-31&fail….
|Do state or nonstate actors employ legal, administrative, or other means to force publishers, content hosts, or digital platforms to delete content, particularly material that is protected by international human rights standards?||2.002 4.004|
The Sudanese government does not systematically use legal or administrative means to force publishers and content hosts to delete legitimate content. Instead, the authorities use intimidation to coerce internet users to delete content. The General Intelligence Service (GIS) and individuals affiliated with the government harass and intimidate users to delete content they object to in Facebook groups (see C7).1
- 1Unnamed local sources, interviews with author.
|Do restrictions on the internet and digital content lack transparency, proportionality to the stated aims, or an independent appeals process?||2.002 4.004|
Under the TPRA Act of 2018, the TPRA is mandated to protect the national security of Sudan, which is vaguely defined.1 Furthermore, the law allows the TPRA to shut down any wireless device, wireless station, or broadcast station if these stations are violating rules and regulations outlined in other laws. The TPRA Act was used to justify internet restrictions following the October 2021 coup, as well as previous internet restrictions.
In December 2020, the TPRA approved the 2020 regulations on content filtering and website blockage.2 The regulations give TPRA the mandate to block certain categories of websites including: gambling sites, peer-to-peer file sharing websites, VPN websites, websites which call for atheism, and websites of “any additional classifications that the authority considers.”3 Under Article 8 of the regulations, ISPs must immediately block websites once they receive a TPRA notice or face fines of up 300,000 pounds ($524).4
The TPRA’s website gives users the opportunity to submit requests to unblock websites “that are deemed to not contain pornography,”5 but it does not specify whether the blocking of political websites can be appealed. In addition to the TPRA, the prosecutor general has the power to block any website that threatens national security or violates social mores.6
In the past, the ISPs were transparent in communicating when websites were blocked due to the filtering directives of the former NTC.7 However, ISPs reportedly no longer show this explanation when sites are blocked.8
Little is known about the procedural aspects of the Sudanese government’s restrictions of online content. The TPRA still has not disclosed details about the 2018 social media blocks and network shutdowns. In December 2018, Salah Abdallah, head of the now-defunct National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), admitted that the government was responsible for blocking social media platforms, but the NTC did not provide further information about the decision.9
Under the al-Bashir regime, the TPRA managed online censorship through its internet service control unit. The regulator previously claimed that 95 percent of blocked material was related to pornography,10 though it also acknowledged that it had not succeeded in blocking all “negative” sites in Sudan.11 The TPRA additionally requires cybercafé owners to download blocking and filtering software.12
- 1Khattab Hamad, “In Sudan, the Court Stands on the Side of Unrestricted Access to the Internet,” Global Voices, December 16, 2021, https://globalvoices.org/2021/12/16/in-sudan-the-court-stands-on-the-si….
- 2TPRA, “لائحة ترشيح و حجب المواقع و الصفحات الالكترونية على شبكة الانترنت لسنة 2020[The regulation on content filtering and website blockage of the year of 2020]”, December 24, 2020, https://tpra.gov.sd/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/%D9%84%D8%A7%D8%A6%D8%AD….
- 3Research by Freedom House Consultant.
- 4Khattab Hamad and CIPESA writer, “Sudan’s Bad Laws, Internet Censorship, and Repressed Civil Liberties,” CIPESA, December 23, 2021, https://cipesa.org/2021/12/sudans-bad-laws-internet-censorship-and-repr….
- 5Telecommunications and Post Regulatory Authority, “Blocking or Unblocking Websites,” September 21, 2016, https://tpra.gov.sd/regulation-issues/consumers-issues-2/blocking-websi….
- 6“Cybercrime: Cyber terrorism threatens the sovereignty of the state,” Alintibaha, August 13, 2014, https://perma.cc/Y3PJ-UGYM.
- 8Author’s research.
- 9“Sudan restricts social media access to counter protest movement,” Reuters, January 2, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-sudan-protests-internet/sudan-restri….
- 10Telecommunications and Post Regulatory Authority, “Blocking Or Unblock Websites,” National Telecommunications Corporation, last modified September 21, 2016, https://web.archive.org/web/20201014055745/https://tpra.gov.sd/regulati….
- 11“Sudan steps up measures to block ‘negative’ websites,” Sudan Tribune, March 25, 2014, http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article50432.
- 12“Violations of Internet cafes in Khartoum state,” Ashorooq, September 24, 2016, https://web.archive.org/web/20171123163519/http://www.ashorooq.net/news….
|Do online journalists, commentators, and ordinary users practice self-censorship?||1.001 4.004|
Government threats against online journalists and internet users have led to growing self-censorship in recent years. While journalists enjoyed an unprecedented level of freedom in the immediate aftermath of al-Bashir’s ouster, the army has since done much to restrict it.
In October 2022, the police announced that it would take legal action against those who “defame its work and spread rumors.”1 In November 2022, the cabinet announced that it has passed an amendment to the LCC, mandating fines and imprisonment for those who defame public officials or agencies or otherwise disseminate purportedly false news (see C2).2 The risk of criminal prosecution for online speech has led people to self-censor.
In October 2021, al-Democraty, a newspaper that transitioned into a digital outlet after the coup, reported that their offices were under surveillance by security forces.3
Ordinary internet users have become more inclined to self-censor to avoid government surveillance and arbitrary legal penalties. They also rely on anonymous communication to speak candidly.4 Many journalists writing for online platforms publish anonymously to avoid prosecution. Since the October 2021 coup, protesters and activists relied on individuals living outside of Sudan to upload content they collect to avoid surveillance and arrest.5
- 1Police Journalistic Office – Sudan, “اتخاذ اجراءات قانونية في مواجهة كل مروجي الشائعات [Take legal action against all rumor mongers],” Facebook, October 18, 2022, https://www.facebook.com/175980956302550/posts/pfbid02X4MiecbiBTPb3EHPG….
- 2“Coup authority authorizes law criminalizing criticism of state officials and agencies,” al-Taghyeer, November 4, 2022, https://www.altaghyeer.info/en/2022/11/04/coup-authority-authorizes-law….
- 3Medameek, “ اقتحام قوة عسكرية لمكاتب صحيفة الديمقراطى وأحتلال مبانيها [A Military Force Stormed the Offices of the Democratic Newspaper and Occupied its Buildings],“ October 29, 2021, https://www.medameek.com/?p=71545.
- 4Author’s research.
- 5Interview with a member of a resistance committee, conducted in February 2022.
|Are online sources of information controlled or manipulated by the government or other powerful actors to advance a particular political interest?||0.000 4.004|
Political actors frequently manipulate internet content to advance their agendas. Networks of accounts identified during the coverage period sought to generate support for the 2021 military coup. The RSF used networks of inauthentic accounts to promote its activities and its commander, Mohamad Hamdan Dagalo, as tensions between the RSF and SAF in early 2023.
Government officials pressure news outlets operating online and offline to avoid using negative language to describe the government. In February 2022, during the previous coverage period, the National Council of Press and Publication issued a letter to the Al-Jareda newspaper, warning it to change its description of the TSC, which it called “putschist” in its reporting.1 Al-Jareda preserved their original language on Facebook.2
The government imposed editorial directives on media outlets following the October 2021 coup. The directives, which indicated media outlets should refer to the coup as an “action” or “decision,” were provided orally through the Press and Publications Council and the Private Media Department of the Ministry of Culture and Information (MCI) to Sudan TV, Sudanese Radio, and other outlets.3
Officials have used inauthentic accounts on social media to amplify their content. In October 2022, the Sudan2day news outlet reported that Mubarak Ardol, head of the Sudanese Mineral Resources Company and secretary-general of the pro-coup National Consensus Force (NCF) party, used inauthentic accounts to engage with his posts on Facebook.4
In October 2022, Beam Reports reported that RSF used inauthentic accounts to promote its activities via X, the platform then known as Twitter.5 In April 2023, as tensions between the SAF and RSF rose, the Digital Forensics Research Lab reported on two networks of inauthentic accounts promoting the RSF and its commander, Mohamad Hamdan Dagalo. One of the networks was comprised of newly created accounts,6 while the other was comprised of accounts that may have been hijacked.7
Campaigns targeting Sudanese social media users are identified regularly. In January 2022, Marc Owen Jones, a disinformation researcher, identified a network likely including inauthentic and hacked accounts to share content about the United Arab Emirates’ support for and relationship with Sudan.8 In August 2021, Jones noted a Twitter network that likely included inauthentic and hacked accounts amplified a narrative that Sudanese internet users opposed the government’s decision to transfer al-Bashir to the International Criminal Court.9
In November 2022, a network containing more than 15 accounts was identified in promoting the 2021 coup.10 In October 2022, former MTDT minister Hashim Hassab al-Rasoul claimed that four foreign platforms linked with Russia were working to spread disinformation against the democratic transition.11
In February 2022, Alhadi Mohammed Alameen, an online journalist for the Sudan Tribune, received a request to refrain from reporting on terrorism and religious extremism. It was unclear who sent the message.12 Rather than adhering to the request, Alameen stopped writing altogether.13
Numerous entities spread disinformation in Sudan. Key foreign players in manipulating the information space in Sudan are based in Russia, Egypt, Ethiopia, and the UAE. Domestic actors who spread disinformation include the SAF, the RSF, the GIS, Islamist parties, and parties opposed to military rule. Some common disinformation narratives have sought to generate support for the 2021 coup, launder the reputations of individuals and institutions with poor human rights records, discourage and distract people from participating in protests, and discredit secular or feminist groups.14
The al-Bashir regime spread disinformation and manipulated social media discussion through the so-called cyberjihad unit,15 which was established under the NISS’s purview in 2011. In 2019, the unit was especially active on Facebook and Twitter, using human-run accounts to harass opposition figures and protesters, flooding platforms with coordinated posts to sway public opinion, and spreading false information to muddle debate.16 It also sought to report target accounts for violating social platforms’ community standards, sometimes leading to their closure or suspension.17 The unit also reportedly orchestrated technical attacks against independent websites (see C8).
Despite the al-Bashir regime’s ouster, the cyberjihad unit reportedly remains active on social media.18 In 2020, the unit shared disinformation related to the transitional government’s COVID-19 response, with the apparent goal of mobilizing antilockdown protests.19
Dozens of online newspapers and other outlets have appeared since 2019, some of which appear to be affiliated with the security services or the cyberjihad unit. The outlets use sensational headlines and social media posts to malign activists and civil society organizations.20 In November 2019, the al-Ain news site cited anonymous sources when it reported on other outlets that were connected to the NCP, the ruling party of al-Bashir, or the former regime's security services.21
The government of Khartoum State established a “Rumor Combating Center” in December 2022, purportedly to combat hate speech, bullying, and false online content.22
- 1صحيفة الجريدة السودانية [Aljareeda Sudanese Newspaper], “صحيفة الجريدة السودانية, “بين ” الجريدة “ وقرائها ( مجلس إدارتها ) نحيطكم علمًا بما وردنا [Between Alhareeda and its readers, we inform you of what we have received],” Facebook, February 10, 2022, https://www.facebook.com/aljareeda.sudanese.newspaper/posts/50075539293….
- 2صحيفة الجريدة السودانية [Aljareeda Sudanese Newspaper], “[The chairman of the putschist Sovereign Council, Lieutenant-General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, on Sudan TV, at eight o’clock this evening, via the National Building Dialogue program] رئيس مجلس السيادة الانقلابي الفريق اول ركن عبدالفتاح البرهان على تلفزيون السودان الثامنة مساء اليوم عبر برنامج حوار البناء الوطني”و Facebook, February 12, 2022, https://www.facebook.com/aljareeda.sudanese.newspaper/photos/a.17287124….
- 3Interview with employee in the Sudanese government, conducted in February 2022.
- 4Sudan Today, “اردول يستعين بمواقع حسابات وهمية للتفاعل مع منشوراته [Ardol uses fake account sites to interact with his posts]”, October 28, 2022, https://sudan2day.net/archives/15580.
- 5Beam Reports, “هل يستخدم الدعم السريع حسابات مزيفة في (تويتر) لترويج أنشطته؟ [Does Rapid Support use fake Twitter accounts to promote its activities?]”, October 15, 2022, https://perma.cc/K9X5-VC42.
- 6Tessa Knight, “Suspicious Twitter accounts artificially amplify Sudanese paramilitary leader amid armed conflict,” DFRLab, April 19, 2023, https://dfrlab.org/2023/04/19/suspicious-twitter-accounts-artificially-….
- 7Tessa Knight, “Potentially hijacked Twitter accounts promote Sudanese paramilitary force,” DFRLab, April 18, 2023, https://dfrlab.org/2023/04/18/potentially-hijacked-twitter-accounts-pro….
- 8@marcowenjones, “Thread 1/ For Sudan and Gulf watchers. Below is a brief analysis of a 'Sudanese' sockpuppet network that includes at least 26 accounts. It seems to exist mostly to promote the UAE's role in #Sudan, and occasionally have swipes at the Muslim Brotherhood. #disinformation”, Twitter, January 14, 2022, https://twitter.com/marcowenjones/status/1482056864552660997?s=20&t=Wsm….
- 9@marcowenjones, “Thread1/ This thread is about a trend advocating for preventing Omar al-Bashir, wanted for crimes against humanity, from being sent to the ICC. It's a fantastic example of how artificially amplified and manipulated trends pretend to be grassroots sentiment #Disinformation #Sudan,” Twitter, August 13, 2021, https://twitter.com/marcowenjones/status/1426124574601658369.
- 10Beam Reports, “تدعم الأجندة السياسية للانقلاب .. (بيم ريبورتس) تكشف عن شبكة جديدة على فيسبوك [Supports the political agenda of the coup.. (Beam Reports) unveils a new network on Facebook],” November 15, 2022, https://perma.cc/ZYU5-QLMS.
- 11Alaa Abdelraheem, “وزير الاتصالات والتحول الرقمي هاشم حسب الرسول لــ (الديمقراطي)[Minister of Communications and Digital Transformation Hashim Hasab al-Rasoul told (Al-Democrati):]”, Al-Democrati, October 9, 2022, https://www.democratsudan.com/%D9%88%D8%B2%D9%8A%D8%B1-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%…; DFR Lab, “Inauthentic Facebook assets promoted Russian interests in Sudan,” June 3, 2021, https://medium.com/dfrlab/inauthentic-facebook-assets-promoted-russian-….
- 12Interview with a journalist, conducted in February 2022.
- 13Alhadi Mohammed Alameen, “تم إخطاري بالتوقف عن الكتابة حول الملفات والقضايا المتعلقة بالإرهاب والتطرف الديني [I was told to stop writing about files and issues related to terrorism and religious extremism],” Facebook, February 27, 2022, https://www.facebook.com/1388262605/posts/10221226796204640/.
- 14Beam Reports, “Share Mania: Mapping Misinformation and Disinformation in Sudan”, January 15, 2023, https://www.beamreports.com/2023/01/15/share-mania-mapping-misinformati….
- 15It should be noted that activists rarely use the term “Cyber Jihad Unit.”
- 16University of Oxford, “The Global Disinformation Order,” 2019, https://comprop.oii.ox.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/93/2019/09/CyberT…; University of Oxford, “Case Studies – Collated,” November 2019, https://comprop.oii.ox.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/93/2019/09/Case-S….
- 17Interview with S.A, a Sudanese investigative journalist, conducted on April 17, 2020.
- 18Interview with S.A, a Sudanese investigative journalist, conducted on April 17, 2020.
- 19Interview with S.A, a Sudanese investigative journalist, conducted on April 17, 2020.
- 20See, for example: “فضيحة تحرش تضرب الحزب الشيوعي وناشطين في العمل الطوعي [A Harassment Scandal Hits the Communist Party and Volunteer Activists],” Matarees, October 19, 2020, https://matarees.com/24718/فضيحة-تحرش-تضرب-الحزب-الشيوعي-وناشطين/.
- 21Mortada Koko, “"الجداد الإلكتروني".. أبواق إخوانية تتربص بحكومة السودان [“Electronic Grandfather” .. Brotherhood horns lurking in the government of Sudan],” November 3, 2019, https://al-ain.com/article/brothers-horns-lurking-government-of-sudan.
- 22Spokesperson Platform, “تدشين مركز مكافحة الشائعات بالخرطوم الأربعاء المقبل [Inauguration of the Anti-Rumour Center in Khartoum next Wednesday],” December 24, 2022, https://spokesperson.gov.sd/?p=8668.
|Are there economic or regulatory constraints that negatively affect users’ ability to publish content online?||0.000 3.003|
Several economic and regulatory constraints negatively affect users’ ability to publish content online. For years, tight government control of the media environment prevented independent online news outlets and journalists from becoming economically viable. Political polarization further constrains the development of sustainable independent journalism.1
In a January 2023 comment, Sudanese journalist Shamael Elnoor, a Sudanese journalist, said that the country had “become run by espionage” and that acquiring information from the government was nearly impossible. Another journalist said the government sent information to specific journalists via instant messaging apps, limiting the viability of outlets without such connections.2
In February 2022, the social network then known as Twitter allowed Sudanese users to register accounts with a local phone number.3 Twitter previously restricted Sudanese users from registering with local numbers because of US sanctions. ChatGPT is inaccessible in Sudan because it cannot authenticate accounts that use Sudanese phone numbers.4
The cost of issuing a license to establish any media services center, including a news site, is 400,000 pounds ($662).5 In a country where the average annual salary stood at 480,000 pounds ($794) in 2022,6 these fees, which are imposed under the Press and Publication Act of 2009, severely restrict the media environment.
In January 2022, the MCI revoked the accreditation of Al Jazeera Mubasher journalist Mohammed Omar and photographer Badawi Bashir for their “unprofessional coverage of the Sudanese affairs.” The outlet’s broadcast license was also revoked.7
Funding constraints limit the survival of online news outlets. Al-Taghyeer, for example, relies on donor funding, while Baj News relies on funding from a businessman. The US sanctions regime prevented Sudanese news sites from generating revenue through advertisement monetization with US companies. In 2021, Sudan Digital, a private Sudanese company and research entity, reported that Facebook, Google, and other platforms are working to enable ad sales in Sudan following the end of the sanctions.8 Numerous news sites are funded by affiliates of the former al-Bashir government (see B5). In March 2020, Hussein Khogali, the owner of Omdurman TV and an NCP loyalist, announced that he would close the outlet because of its inability to pay broadcasting fees.9 Khogali wrote an article saying that the government refused to place official and semiofficial advertisements on the channel, effectively boycotting the outlet.10
In February 2020, the government appointed Lukman Ahmed, a former British Broadcasting Corporation journalist, as director of the Sudanese General Corporation for Radio and Television Transmission.11 The corporation primarily regulates broadcast media, which are also an important source of news in the online media space. Ahmed and other officials indicated that they would seek to liberalize the media environment and reduce state control of broadcasters.12 Ahmed was removed in April 2021, reappointed by then prime minister Abdulla Hamdok in December 2021, and was removed by al-Burhan again in April 2022.13
- 1Research conducted by Freedom House consultant.
- 2Shamel Elnoor, “البلد كلها تُدار بالطريقة الجاسوسية [The country has become run by espionage]”, Facebook, January 29, 2023, https://www.facebook.com/shamael.elnoor/posts/10167019244145315?__cft__….
- 3“[Finally .. Twitter recognizes Sudan!] أخيرا.. تويتر يعترف بالسودان!” Open Sudan, February 8, 2022, https://opensudan.net/archives/22195.
- 4Jon Martindale, “These are the countries where ChatGPT is currently banned,” digitaltrends, April 12, 2023, https://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/these-countries-chatgpt-banned/.
- 5Author research, February 2022.
- 6“Average Salary in Sudan 2022”, Salary Explorer, accessed August 18, 2023, http://www.salaryexplorer.com/salary-survey.php?loc=205&loctype=1.
- 7Al Jazeera, ”Sudan Withdraws Licence of Al Jazeera Mubasher,” January 16, 2022, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/1/16/sudan-withdraws-al-jazeera-mub….
- 8“Facebook and Google Ads in Sudan,” Sudan Digital, accessed August 15, 2021, https://sudandigital.com/sudan-digital-blog/facebook-and-google-ads-sud….
- 9“إغلاق قناة أم درمان بسبب عجز مالي [Shutdown of Omdurman TV due to a financial inability],” Alrakoba, March 16, 2020, https://perma.cc/9AW6-TTJJ.
- 10Hussien Khogali, “اغلاق "قناة امدرمان" الفضائية، و حسين خوجلي يوضح الاسباب [Shutting down Omdurman TV, and Hussein Khojaly explains the reasons],” TagPress, March 16, 2020, https://www.tagpress.net/38196/.
- 11Abdul Hamid Awad, “السودان: تعيين محمد أحمد مديراً للهيئة العامة للإذاعة والتلفزيون [Sudan: Mohamed Ahmed appointed Director of the Public Authority for Radio and Television],” February 6, 2020, https://perma.cc/QN6C-83VG.
- 12“ثورة على قوانين الإعلام السوداني تطوي صفحة البشير [Revolution against Sudanese media laws turns the page of Bashir],” Al Arab, November 3, 2020, https://perma.cc/8SXM-K6F6.
- 13“حمدوك يعيد لقمان أحمد لرئاسة التلفزيون السوداني [Hamdok restores Luqman Ahmed as head of Sudanese TV],” Al-Ain news, December 21, 2021, https://al-ain.com/article/sudan-hamdok-luqman-ahmed-tv; “Burhan sacks Sudan’s Radio-TV Corporation director,” Sudan Tribune, April 10, 2022, https://sudantribune.com/article257570/.
|Does the online information landscape lack diversity and reliability?||2.002 4.004|
Sudan’s online information space is increasingly diverse, though its reliability is hampered by a lack of editorial standards from online outlets, online misinformation, and manipulation by political actors (see B5).
Compared to the highly restrictive space in the traditional media sphere, which is characterized by prepublication censorship, confiscations of entire press runs of newspapers,1 and warnings from GIS agents against reporting on certain taboo topics,2 the internet remains a relatively open space for freedom of expression. Many voices express discontent with the government on various online platforms. Online news outlets such as Al-Taghyeer,3 Radio Dabanga,4 and Al-Rakoba cover controversial topics such as corruption and human rights violations. Other news sites, like Darfur24, the Nuba Times, and Sawt al-Hamish cover regions that have been underrepresented in Sudanese media.5
Facing heavy censorship, many print newspapers have shifted to digital formats, circulating censored or banned material on their websites and social media pages; as a result, residents increasingly rely on online outlets and social media for uncensored information.6
The online landscape’s diversity is impacted by how difficult it is to submit online payments for domain and hosting service providers abroad. There are some service providers in Sudan, but security concerns also stand as a barrier to establishing new online media outlets.7 The January 2023 closure of BBC Arabic’s radio service triggered a discussion about how this development impacts the diversity of sources of information, especially because the internet penetration rate is low.8
Citizen journalism has grown after al-Bashir’s ouster, which has contributed to increasing diversity of the media space by offering multiple sources of information.9 Blogging is also popular, allowing journalists and other writers to publish commentary free from the restrictions leveled on print newspapers while providing women and ethnic and religious minorities a platform to express themselves. The more active Sudanese bloggers write in English.
The online media landscape lacks reliability, in part because the dozens of new media outlets that emerged after al-Bashir’s ouster have failed to demonstrate strong editorial policies and practices. Some media websites do not share basic information, such as the names of their reporters, editors, and leadership, or the source of their funding.10 Government officials reportedly attributed the June 2021 blocking of news sites to the spread of online rumors from “unregistered sites and pages.”11
The online space is muddied with misleading content that undermines access to accurate information, and in some cases leads to offline harms. In April 2023, following the removal of legacy verification checks on what was then known as Twitter, a Twitter Blue account claiming to represent the RSF tweeted false information that Dagalo of the RSF had died from combat injuries.12
In June 2022, the Association of Lawyers of Eastern Sudan raised 26 lawsuits against websites that allegedly spread tribal hate speech, content which has incited communal violence in the past (see A3).13
- 1“NISS confiscates newspapers covering Sudan crises,” Radio Dabanga, May 8, 2018, https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/niss-confiscates-newsp….
- 2“Sudanese Security continues crackdown on press, journalists strike,” Sudan Tribune, December 1, 2016, https://sudantribune.com/spip.php?article60994; “Sudan’s press court sentences editors to fines or jail for ‘false news’,” Radio Dabanga, March 27, 2018, https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/sudan-s-press-court-se….
- 3Al-Taghyeer—Arabic for change, with political connotations—was established in 2013 following the government’s crackdown on independent journalists, who were eventually banned from practicing traditional journalism in Sudan.
- 4Launched from the Netherlands in November 2008, Radio Dabanga focuses on reporting on Darfur and has a strong online presence and wide audience in conflicts areas. Its website is bilingual and runs in depth reports and features. It is a project of the Radio Darfur Network. Dabanga, “About Us,” accessed August 18, 2023, https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/about-us.
- 5See: Sawt Al-Hamish, https://www.alhamish.com; Darfur24, https://www.darfur24.com; and Nuba Times, https://www.nubatimes.com/.
- 6“ حجب المعلومات بالسودان أنعش مواقعه الإلكترونية [Blocking information in Sudan revives websites]” Al-Jazeera, January 9, 2017, https://perma.cc/M9GE-QSVX.
- 7Author’s research.
- 8SMEX, “الراديو (لا) يستبدل الإنترنت في السودان [Radio (not) replaces the Internet in Sudan]”, February 14, 2023, https://perma.cc/WXX4-874L.
- 9Khalid Albaih, “Arab Spring Cartoon: Citizen Journalism from Syria to Sudan,” Al Jazeera, March 26, 2021, https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2021/3/26/arab-spring-cartoon-citize….
- 10See, for instance, Al Nawars News, http://www.alnawrasnews.net/ and “النورس نيوز [Al Nawars News], Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/Al.Nawars.news/.
- 11“Outcry as Sudan blocks El Sudani newspaper and 30 other websites,” Radio Dabanga, July 6, 2021, https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/outcry-as-sudan-blocks….
- 12Matthew Champion, “A Twitter Blue Account Is Spreading Dangerous Misinformation About the Sudan Conflict,” Vice, April 21, 2023, https://www.vice.com/en/article/93kyj5/twitter-blue-fake-account-sudan-….
- 13Ram News, “تجمع محامي شرق السودان :يدون 26 بلاغ ضد منصات تثير الكراهية [East Sudan Lawyers Association: writes down 26 complaints against hate-inciting platforms]”, June 19, 2022, https://ram-news.net/18487/.
|Do conditions impede users’ ability to mobilize, form communities, and campaign, particularly on political and social issues?||3.003 6.006|
The internet is an increasingly important tool for mobilization, though internet shutdowns designed to impede online organizing have harmed the environment. Sudanese security forces continue to respond to protests with indiscriminate force.
Activists relied on Facebook and Twitter to mobilize protests before the October 2021 internet shutdown. Organizers then mobilized protests through short-message service (SMS) messages, until mobile services were also restricted.1 When internet services were restored in November 2021, people took to social media to circulate images and footage from a clash that took place in Khartoum that month, to call for accountability and to organize subsequent protests.2
Security forces allegedly surveilled and physically inspected protesters’ mobile phones to delete evidence of human rights abuses (see C5). After accounts of security officers’ practices spread online, protesters sought to protect themselves by deleting social media apps and information received on WhatsApp and other platforms. Some demonstrators acquired separate phones to use at protests or when they perceived a threat from security forces.3 Protesters also used functions available on some phones that allowed them to use guest accounts that would have fewer installed apps available (and, therefore, less incriminating information).4 In November 2021, an anonymous team of digital security experts created a guide to securing phones to help protesters protect themselves if they faced inspection.5
- 1“Sudan: Military deployed in Khartoum ahead of protest”, Africa news, February 17, 2022, https://www.africanews.com/2021/11/17/sudan-military-deployed-in-kharto….
- 2@othman_eltyb, “More videos emerging from yesterday military violent crackdown on peaceful protests” https://twitter.com/hashtag/مجزرة17نوفمبر?src=hashtag_click#مجزرة17نوفمبر #SudanCoup”, Twitter, Video, November 18, 2021, https://twitter.com/othman_eltyb/status/1461368151715758087?s=20&t=ICwS….
- 3This became very common, and it started to get the nickname “the protest phone.” Often, they are second-hand or older phones and sometimes a normal and not a smart phone.
- 4This was shared on Twitter and other social media outlets.
- 5@ReemooSalah, “قام فريق من خبراء الأمن الرقمي في السودان بإعداد دليل لتأمين هواتف المواطنين بعد أنباء عن قيام قوات الإنقلاب بتفتيش هواتف المواطنين بالخرطوم و المسافرين عن طريق مطار الخرطوم. [A team of digital security experts in Sudan prepared a guide to securing citizens' phones after news that the coup forces searched the phones of citizens in Khartoum and travelers through Khartoum Airport.],”Twitter, November 7, 2021, https://twitter.com/ReemooSalah/status/1457385022353248265?s=20&t=fCNSX….
|Do the constitution or other laws fail to protect rights such as freedom of expression, access to information, and press freedom, including on the internet, and are they enforced by a judiciary that lacks independence?||0.000 6.006|
In October 2021, Lieutenant General al-Burhan dissolved the transitional government in a military coup and suspended some of the 2019 interim constitution’s articles. Al-Burhan specifically suspended articles related to the government’s composition—namely the TSC, the cabinet, and the Transitional Legislative Council—creating “a legal conundrum” in enforcing other provisions and jeopardizing the constitution’s freedom-of-expression protections.1 In addition to suspending parts of the constitution, al-Burhan declared a state of emergency that was lifted in May 2022.2
Before the SAF-RSF conflict, political and military actors were negotiating a new interim constitution following the dissolution of the transitional government in October 2021, which would underpin a future democratic transition. The leaked draft of the proposed interim constitution disclosed that the constitution guaranteed the right to access the information using any means, including the internet.3 However, this draft was not finalized prior to the outbreak of conflict in April 2023.
In August 2022, journalists established their first union to improve wages and their work environment.4 The last independent journalists’ union was dissolved in 1989. Sudan’s registrar of labor organizations refused to recognize the union.5
In August 2019, the military junta that overthrew the al-Bashir regime and the Forces of Freedom and Change, a coalition of civilian organizations and rebel forces, signed the interim constitution, the Draft Constitutional Charter for the 2019 Transitional Period, to serve as Sudan’s legal framework until a new constitution is drafted.6 The interim constitution includes a Rights and Freedoms Charter, which focuses on human rights, including those already specified in international agreements ratified by Sudan. The charter also enshrines the freedom of expression, freedom of the press, and access to the internet.7 In addition, the interim constitution restructures Sudan’s national judiciary and mandates that the transitional government ensures the judiciary’s independence.8
Sudanese courts sometimes issue rulings that affirm freedom of expression online. In November 2021, the Khartoum District Court ordered telecommunications providers to resume internet services.9 After ISPs failed to execute the court’s decision, arrest warrants were issued for their managers;10 an inside source later claimed that telecommunications providers restored internet access due to political and economic pressure, not because of the court decision.11 In the past, the Constitutional Court has ruled in favor of prepublication censorship if it is deemed in the interest of national security.
- 1“Sudan's Burhan declares state of emergency, dissolves government”, Reuters, October 25, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/world/africa/sudans-burhan-declares-state-emerg…; Sami Abdelhalim Saeed, “Sudan’s Constitutional Crisis: Dissecting the Coup Declaration,” Just Security, November 3, 2021, https://www.justsecurity.org/78848/sudans-constitutional-crisis-dissect….
- 2“Sudan lifts state of emergency imposed since military coup,” France 24, May 29, 2022, https://www.france24.com/en/africa/20220529-sudan-lifts-state-of-emerge….
- 3Al Jazeera, “الجزيرة نت تحصل على مسودة الدستور الانتقالي السوداني [Al Jazeera Net obtains the draft Sudanese transitional constitution],” November 19, 2022, https://perma.cc/Y677-N4YJ.
- 4Mustafa Hashim, “نقابة للصحفيين في السودان.. تجربة "تاريخية" تثير قلق بعض القوى [Journalists Syndicate in Sudan.. A "historic" experience that worries some forces],” Alhurra, August 31, 2022, https://perma.cc/X97T-2TR5.
- 5Nabd AlSudan, “مسجل تنظيمات العمل يرفض النظام الأساسي لنقابة الصحفيين [The Registrar of Labor Organizations rejects the statute of the Journalists Syndicate],” February 22, 2023, https://nabdsudan.com/archives/74930.
- 6Eric Reeves, “Sudan: Draft Constitutional Charter for the 2019 Transitional Period,” Sudan Reeves, August 6, 2019, https://sudanreeves.org/2019/08/06/sudan-draft-constitutional-charter-f….
- 7Sudan Constitutional Charter, Art. 41 – 66.
- 8Sudan Constitutional Charter, Art. 28 – 29.
- 9@MoOsman88, “1/Despite a Khartoum court compelling internet/telecom service providers to restore service, the head of the Telecom and Postal services ordered companies not to comply, saying emergency orders from the army leader override judicial decisions.,” Twitter, November 12, 2021, https://twitter.com/MoOsman88/status/1459127270166126595?s=20&t=BCpdvlh….
- 10@Sudaneseblogs, Twitter, “عاجل: المحكمة تصدر أمرا قضائيا بالقبض على مدراء شركات الاتصالات على خلفية قطع خدمة الأنترنت من جميع البلاد #السودان,” November 18, 2021, https://twitter.com/Sudaneseblogs/status/1461270116809781248?s=20&t=Ym6….
- 11Interview with IT specialist in a telecom company, conducted in January 2022.
|Are there laws that assign criminal penalties or civil liability for online activities, particularly those that are protected under international human rights standards?||1.001 4.004|
Sudanese law can be used to penalize online activists, journalists, and ordinary users in retaliation for publishing legitimate online content.
In July 2020, then premier Hamdok signed amendments to 2018 LCC, which introduced criminal penalties for the spread of false news online.1 The law is based on the Informatic Offenses (Combating) Act of 2007, which criminalizes the establishment of websites that publish defamatory material and content that disturbs public morality or public order.2 Those found in violation of the 2007 law face fines and two-to-five-year prison sentences.3
The July 2020 amendments to the LCC increased the penalties for many activities specified in the original law, including online defamation, online extortion, hacking of government websites, and sharing false information on social media. For instance, Article 24 of the amended LCC imposes a penalty of up to one year in prison and a fine for those who knowingly share false information online with the intention of “fear to the people or threatening the public peace or decreasing the prestige of the state.”4 The July 2020 amendments were reportedly supported by almost the entirety of the TSC. 5 The Ministry of Justice reportedly began exploring further reforms to the LCC in November 2020.6
In November 2022, the cabinet passed an amendment to the LCC that criminalizes insulting state leaders and agencies,7 though its full text was not released. Under the amendment, authorities were obliged to impose imprisonment and a fine against offenders.8
Article 23 of the LCC imposes sanctions such as “imprisonment for less than one year, flogging, or paying a fine” for “anyone who uses the internet, or any means of communications, information or applications to disseminate any news, rumor or report, knowing it’s fake, to cause public fear or panic, threaten public safety and offend the reputation of the state.”9
Amendments to the criminal code in July 2020 also carry implications for online activities. Article 153, which criminalizes “material that violates public morals,” was amended to remove the punishment of flogging. The provision still imposes penalties of up to one month’s imprisonment and a fine for possession of such materials.10 Osman M. Khartoum, a human rights lawyer, believes that the amended provision may still lead to broad arrests because of the nature of online communications, like WhatsApp group messages. Khartoum also holds that the provision, which permits a court to order “the confiscation of devices and equipment”11 used to display the materials, may be used for abusive searches and seizures of electronic devices (see C5).12
National security imperatives have also opened journalists up to arrest. The 2010 National Security Act gave the NISS immunity from prosecution and the ability to arrest, detain, and censor journalists under the pretext of national security;13 amendments to the law in 2020 grant the GIS this immunity (see C5).
- 1SMEX, “Do new Sudanese laws regulate digital space or limit freedom of expression?,” July 23, 2018, https://smex.org/do-new-sudanese-laws-regulate-digital-space-or-limit-f….
- 2Abdelgadir Mohammed Abdelgadir, “Fences of Silence: Systematic Repression of Freedom of the Press, Opinion and Expression in Sudan,” International Press Institute, 2012, https://www.mediasupport.org/report-need-for-press-freedom-reform-in-su…. According to Section 4, crimes against public order and morality Sudan cyber law, of Sudan’s Cybercrime Law (2007), intentional or unintentional producing, preparing, sending, storing, or promoting any content that violates public order or morality, makes the offender liable to imprisonment of 4 to 5 years or a fine or both. The maximum penalty for committing both crimes is 7 years or fine or both. Also, under the same section, creating, promoting, using, website that calls for, or promote, ideas against public law or morality is punished by 3 years in prison or fine or both. Cyber defamation crimes necessitate 2 years in prison or fine or both. Public order is not defined clearly in the law. Subsequently, most of the opposition content online falls under this section making online activists liable under this law.
- 3Abdelgadir Mohammed Abdelgadir, “Fences of Silence: Systematic Repression of Freedom of the Press, Opinion and Expression in Sudan,” International Press Institute, 2012, https://www.mediasupport.org/report-need-for-press-freedom-reform-in-su…. According to Section 4, crimes against public order and morality Sudan cyber law, of Sudan’s Cybercrime Law (2007), intentional or unintentional producing, preparing, sending, storing, or promoting any content that violates public order or morality, makes the offender liable to imprisonment of 4 to 5 years or a fine or both. The maximum penalty for committing both crimes is 7 years or fine or both. Also, under the same section, creating, promoting, using, website that calls for, or promote, ideas against public law or morality is punished by 3 years in prison or fine or both. Cyber defamation crimes necessitate 2 years in prison or fine or both. Public order is not defined clearly in the law. Subsequently, most of the opposition content online falls under this section making online activists liable under this law.
- 4“Ministry of Justice, Official Gazette, No. 1904,” July 13, 2020, https://moj.gov.sd/files/index/28; “تعديل قانون جرائم المعلوماتية يسد الطريق على الشائعات في السودان [Amending the Cybercrime Law blocks rumors in Sudan],” Al-Arab, August 27, 2020, https://perma.cc/CQQ8-HU6G; “تعديل قانون المعلوماتية.. تحجيم أم حماية؟ [Amending the Cybercrime Law],” Assayha, July 27, 2020, https://web.archive.org/web/20201014055726/https://www.assayha.net/now/….
- 5Interview with SD, journalist and activist, conducted in March 2021.
- 6“العدل” تشرع في تعديل قانون مكافحة جرائم المعلوماتية” [Al-Adl begins to amend the Law on Combating Information Crimes],” Sudan First, November 18, 2020, http://sudanfirst.com/2020/11/17382/; Khattab Hamad, “Sudan's revised cybercrime law falls short on its promise,” Global Voices, March 4, 2021, https://advox.globalvoices.org/2021/03/04/sudans-revised-cybercrime-law….
- 7“[Al-Sayha: Disclosure of a law criminalizing insulting state leaders] الصيحة: الكشف عن قانون يجرم إهانة قادة الدولة”, Baj News, Apr 25, 2022, https://perma.cc/LCH9-47C6.
- 8Spokesperson platform, “إجازة قانون مكافحة جرائم المعلوماتية تعديل لسنة ٢٠٢٢ [The law on combating information crimes, amended for the year 2022, was passed],” November 2, 2022, https://spokesperson.gov.sd/?p=2565.
- 9SMEX, “Do new Sudanese laws regulate digital space or limit freedom of expression?,” July 23, 2018, https://smex.org/do-new-sudanese-laws-regulate-digital-space-or-limit-f….
- 10“Sudan Legal Amendments Explanatory Table,” Redress, July 2020, https://web.archive.org/web/20220206194536/https://redress.org/wp-conte….
- 11“Sudan Legal Amendments Explanatory Table,” Redress, July 2020, https://web.archive.org/web/20220206194536/https://redress.org/wp-conte….
- 12Interview with Osman M. Khartoum, conducted on February 15, 2021.
- 13“Sudanese security service carries out brutal campaign against opponents,” Amnesty International, July 19, 2010, https://www.amnesty.org/en/press-releases/2010/07/17643/.
|Are individuals penalized for online activities, particularly those that are protected under international human rights standards?||3.003 6.006|
Arrests, prosecutions, and interrogations for online activities continued during the coverage period. Internet users have continued to fear arrest for online dissent since the October 2021 coup. After the conflict between the SAF and the RSF began in April 2023, the Journalists’ Syndicate has reported that many of its members have faced violations from both sides.1 These violations included arrests, as well as threats, injuries, and disappearances (see C7). Journalists regularly receive legal complaints and lawsuits in retaliation for their reporting.
On May 30, 2023, journalist Nader Shulkawi, who posted clips of his reporting on YouTube, was detained in the city of Omdurman by the RSF and had been transferred to an RSF detention camp as of June 1, 2023.2
Salem Mahmoud, a correspondent for Al-Arabiya, was live-streaming via Facebook when RSF personnel interrupted his reporting to question him about his work.3
On April 11, 2023, Sudanese police arrested and detained Yasir Mirghany, the head of the SCPS, on allegations of corruption related to European Union funds received by SCPS in 2012. Mirghany was released on April 18.4 SCPS has a strong history in fighting against internet shutdowns using legal means, and had its registration cancelled during the coverage period (see A5), inhibiting the group’s ability to operate.
In March 2023, after taking out her phone to record the demolition of homes in Khartoum, journalist Ikhlas Nimir, who sometimes shares reporting from her public Facebook page and has worked for online media outlets in the past, was arrested and detained for 10 hours after being beaten and forced into a police car at gunpoint (see C7).5
In October 2022, police arrested Hafeiza Mousa, a journalist who was live-streaming via Facebook to share a protest of women traders in the Darfur town of Zalinje. The police detained her at the police station and took her phone without any legal process.6
In September 2022, Amira Salih of Ultra Sudan, an online news outlet, was arrested by police as she covered a protest in Khartoum.7 She was beaten (see C7) and released later that day without charge.
In August 2022, Saif Eldlien Adam Ahmed, an online activist from Darfur, was detained by police, beaten (see C7), and charged with defamation after posting online about the arrest of four Christians who were charged with apostasy.8
The government still places legal pressures on journalists using the vague terms in the LCC. Following the July 2020 amendments to the LCC (see C2), military officials announced that a new cybercrime commissioner would monitor and prosecute “insults” lodged against the army.9
In September 2022, the Journalists’ Syndicate condemned the arrest of Abdalrahman al-Ajib, who was arrested by police due to publishing an article about a corruption case related to the Ministry of Minerals in a newspaper and on his Facebook account. He was charged under Articles 24 and 25 of the LCC.10
In October 2022, police filed a complaint against Osman Shabona, who reports for several online media outlets, after he wrote an article that criticized the police.11
In April 2022, during the previous coverage period, Sulaima Ishaq, the director of the Combating Violence against Women Unit, was sued by the GIS because she allegedly “leaked” information to online outlet Alintibaha about two rape cases associated with Sudanese security forces.14
Authorities have pursued online activists based outside Sudan. In March 2023, the GIS sued Dalia al-Tahir, a diaspora Sudanese journalist based in Libya, claiming that she published “fake news” regarding the tension between the RSF and GIS.15 Hisham Ali,16 a Saudi Arabia–based online activist and blogger, was arrested by Saudi authorities in late 2017 and transferred to Sudan in May 2018.17 He was detained until his release in April 2019.18
- 1Syndicate of the Sudanese Journalists, “تقرير نصف الشهر الثاني من الصراع الدامي [Report the second half of the bloody conflict],” Facebook, June 4, 2023, https://www.facebook.com/sdjsofficial/posts/pfbid02WNqrfA2b6QqvnjexqGEp….
- 2“Sudanese paramilitary soldiers detain journalist Nader Shulkawi,” Committee to Protect Journalists, June 1, 2023, https://cpj.org/2023/06/sudanese-paramilitary-soldiers-detain-journalis….
- 3“Journalists shot, beaten, and harassed covering conflict between Sudan’s rival military groups,” Committee to Protect Journalists, May 30, 2023, https://cpj.org/2023/05/journalists-shot-beaten-and-harassed-covering-c….
- 4Front Line Defender, “HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER YASIR MIRGHANI RELEASED ON PERSONAL GUARANTEE”, April 21, 2023, https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/human-rights-defender-yasir-….
- 5Sudanese Journalists Syndicate, “Statement of Public Opinion: Sudanese Union of Journalists condemns the police targeting the fellow journalist Ikhlas Tiger of physical harm and forced detention, in Khartoum today, Sunday,” Facebook, March 12, 2023, https://www.facebook.com/sdjsofficial/posts/pfbid021v8S5x6J57Prq1BP6AEn….
- 6“سلطات الانقلاب تعتقل صحفية في إقليم دارفور [The coup authorities arrest a journalist in the Darfur region],” Altaghyeer, October 16, 2022, https://perma.cc/4BS8-KPHW.
- 7African Center for Justice and Peace Studies, “Sudan: Sudanese authorities continue to crack-down on free press and freedom of expression”, September 25, 2022, https://www.acjps.org/sudan-sudanese-authorities-continue-to-crack-down….
- 8African Center for Justice and Peace Studies, “Central Darfur: A human rights defender arrested, tortured and charged with defamation over a social media post in Zalingi city”, September 10, 2022, https://www.acjps.org/central-darfur-a-human-rights-defender-arrested-t….
- 9Nabeel Biajo, “Sudan Army’s Plan Is to Return to 'Dark Days,' Journalists Say,” Voice of America News, August 6, 2020, https://www.voanews.com/press-freedom/sudan-armys-plan-return-dark-days….
- 10Khattab Hamad, “Three Years After Al-Bashir Ouster, Sudan’s Internet Freedom Landscape Remains Precarious”, CIPESA, December 22, 2022, https://cipesa.org/2022/12/three-years-after-al-bashir-ouster-sudans-in….
- 11Alintibaha, “الشرطة تدون بلاغًا في مواجهة كاتب مقال صحفي [The police file a report against the writer of an article],” October 24, 2022, https://alintibaha.net/online/120309/; Osman Shabona, “(جرائم الشرطة).. غياب العدالة..! [(Police crimes)...lack of justice..!], Al-Tahrir, October 25, 2022, https://www.alttahrer.com/archives/83895.
- 12“مصادر عسكرية: انقطاع التواصل مع وزيري الداخلية والدفاع منذ اندلاع الحرب, [Military sources: There has been no communication with the Ministers of Interior and Defense since the outbreak of the war],”Al-Rakoba, May 15, 2023, https://perma.cc/NZ6N-N6UG.
- 13“وصف القوات بالمليشيا أحدث تمرد وسط القوات [Describing the forces as "militia", he created a mutiny among the forces]”, Nabd, December 15, 2022, https://perma.cc/S8K4-NMD4.
- 14“ بلاغ جديد من جهاز الامن بنيابة جرائم المعلوماتية في مواجهة مديرة وحدة حكومية لمكافحة العنف ضد المرأة [A new lawsuit from the Security Agency at the Cybercrimes Prosecution against the director of a government unit to combat violence against women],” Monte Carro, Apr 12, 2022, https://montecarro.com/combatting-violence-against-women/.
- 15Sudan Today, “المخابرات تدون بلاغا في مواجهة صحيفة الحراك وصحافية والتنسيق لاحضارها ب”الانتربول [The intelligence writes a report against Al-Hirak newspaper and a female journalist, and coordinates to bring her to Interpol]”, March 4, 2023, https://sudan2day.net/archives/16204.
- 16“Sudan: Human rights activist arbitrarily detained and at risk of torture must be immediately released,” Amnesty International, May 31, 2018, https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2018/05/sudan-human-rights-activ….
- 17“Sudanese activist deported from Saudi Arabia detained in Khartoum,” Radio Dabanga, July 3, 2018, https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/sudanese-activist-depo….
- 18African Center for Justice and Peace Studies, “Sudan: Hundreds of peaceful protesters and activists released from detention, including Mohamed Hassan Alim and Hisham Mohammed Ali,” April 17, 2019, http://www.acjps.org/sudan-hundreds-of-peaceful-protesters-and-activist….
|Does the government place restrictions on anonymous communication or encryption?||3.003 4.004|
The government does not directly restrict encryption, but SIM card registration requirements limit anonymous communication. Social media blocks in past years drove users toward VPNs and facilitated the use of encrypted communication tools like Signal and Telegram.
Article 9 of the NTC’s General Regulations 2012, based on the 2001 Communications Act, obligates mobile service providers to keep a complete record of their customers’ data, and authorities began enforcing mandatory SIM card registration in late 2017. Subscribers were required to register their phone numbers using their national identity cards, which include detailed personal information such as their home address and birthplace. These requirements enable the government to access mobile user information, limiting anonymity.
In July 2022, after tribal conflict took place in Blue Nile, the Technical Committee of the Council of Security and Defense in Sudan ordered service providers to suspend all SIM cards that were not registered with a national ID number.1 Service providers would be held legally responsible for any violations of the order.
|Does state surveillance of internet activities infringe on users’ right to privacy?||1.001 6.006|
Unchecked communications surveillance is a grave concern in Sudan, where the government is known to actively monitor communications on social media platforms and surveil online activists and journalists during politically sensitive periods. The government still enjoys broad authority to conduct surveillance despite legal reforms, though the extent of the security forces’ technical capacity to surveil is unclear.
According to a November 2022 report by LightHouse Reports, the RSF imported Predator, a spyware application produced by Intellexa; Predator can access the camera, microphone, files, and other features of a target’s smartphone after a URL click.1 In April 2023, the Greek government admitted to allowing Predator’s export to Sudan.2
SMEX reported that the RSF has been inspecting the contents of citizens’ phones since the outbreak of armed conflict in Khartoum in April 2023.3 While torturing and interrogating freelance photojournalist Faiz Abubaker (see C7), RSF members also went through his Facebook account before releasing him.
Sudanese authorities used their access to mobile networks to trace the locations of and arrest some activists after the October 2021 coup.4 The Emergency Lawyers Committee disclosed that security forces subpoenaed phone histories and tracked personal cell phones for a number of arrested anti-coup protestors during interrogations.5 Additionally, during the October 2021 protests, security forces allegedly inspected participants’ mobile phones to delete evidence of rights abuses committed by security officers.6 For instance, a political activist and a lawyer wrote a Facebook post in which she claimed that an army officer asked to examine photographs; when she refused, she was taken to a police station.7 After word spread that security officers were searching devices, protesters developed a number of tactics to protect themselves digitally (see B8).
In July 2020, the TSC amended the 2010 National Security Act; Article 25 of the law previously granted the NISS broad authority to surveil, interrogate, and arrest people in Sudan. While the amendments included several important reforms, Article 25 of the amended law still grants the GIS “the right to request information, data, documents or things from any person and view or keep them.”8 A former telecommunications engineer suggests that the amended version of Article 25 has been interpreted to permit security services to “lawfully violate a citizen’s privacy without asking for any permission.”9
The NISS regularly intercepted private email messages with the aid of sophisticated surveillance technologies. An industry source argued that he has strong reason to believe that the NISS purchased surveillance equipment to facilitate interception at the landing stations in Port Sudan, though it remains unclear if the implementation was a success and whether the current authorities have access to the equipment.10 Another pressing issue is the lawful interception clause in the contracts users sign with telecommunication companies, which is intentionally broad and gives the authorities the right to tape one’s phone without clear evidence of criminal conduct or an ongoing investigation.11
According to 2013 research published by Citizen Lab, a Canadian digital rights organization, Sudanese authorities possessed high-tech surveillance equipment produced by the American technology company Blue Coat Systems, which manufactures monitoring and filtering devices.12 In 2017, NISS agents reportedly planted Blue Coat surveillance software in the phones and laptops of at least 11 activists during an out-of-country meeting and training.13
- 1The LightHouse Reports, “FLIGHT OF THE PREDATOR”, November 30, 2022, https://www.lighthousereports.nl/investigation/flight-of-the-predator/.
- 2Sarantis Michalopoulos, “Greek government admits exporting Predator to Sudan,” Euractiv, April 20, 2023, https://www.euractiv.com/section/politics/news/greek-government-admits-….
- 3DRLAB, SMEX, “Internet And Telecom Shutdowns In Sudan: Who Is Responsible?,” May 8, 2023, https://smex.org/internet-and-telecom-shutdowns-in-sudan-who-is-respons….
- 4Interview with a political activist who was arrested after tracing his phone traffic, January 2022.
- 5Waleed Ahmed, “Will Sudan’s Telecom Sector Remain Under Military Control?”, SMEX, October 25, 2022, https://smex.org/will-sudans-telecom-sector-remain-under-military-contr….
- 6“حملة قمع واسعة تستهدف معارضي الانقلاب في السودان [Massive crackdown on opponents of the coup in Sudan],” Alquds Alarabi, October 27, 2021, https://perma.cc/7H3A-XKUT.
- 7Hanan Hassan, “وقفوني ناس لابسين مدني ف صينية بري قالو لي جيبي تلفونك [People wearing civilian clothes stopped me in Burri square said to me, give me your phone],” Facebook, March 13, 2022, https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=pfbid02feACf3SqJmQ1Bj….
- 8“Sudan Legal Amendments Explanatory Table,” Redress, July 2020, https://web.archive.org/web/20220206194536/https://redress.org/wp-conte….
- 9Khattab Hamad, “Sudan's revised cybercrime law falls short on its promise,” Global Voices, March 4, 2021, https://advox.globalvoices.org/2021/03/04/sudans-revised-cybercrime-law….
- 10Interview with K.B, an industry source, February and March 2021.
- 11Interview with K.B, an industry source, February and March 2021.
- 12Ellen Nakashima, “Report: Web monitoring devices made by US firm Blue Coat detected in Iran, Sudan,” The Washington Post, July 8, 2013, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/report-web-monit….
- 13Interviews conducted by report author, March 2018.
|Does monitoring and collection of user data by service providers and other technology companies infringe on users’ right to privacy?||0.000 6.006|
Service providers are required to aid the government in the surveillance of their users. In one December 2020 case, such privacy violations may have facilitated an extrajudicial killing.
Reporting from online news outlet Darfur24 implicated communications surveillance in the killing of Baha al-Din Nouri, who was kidnapped and tortured to death by RSF officers in Khartoum in December 2020. According to sources, RSF officers kidnapped Nouri after their monitoring of his calls had not yielded enough information for an arrest warrant. Whether security forces monitored Nouri’s call directly, using surveillance technology, or with assistance from a service provider is unclear.1
The SIM card registration process links phone numbers to users’ personal data, which enables government surveillance (see C4). Mobile service providers are obligated to keep records of their customers’ data, including full names, full addresses, other phone numbers, and place of employment. Under the Telecommunications Law of 2018, telecommunications companies must provide customer data to authorities upon request.2
An activist who was summoned for questioning in early 20183 noted that an NISS officer told him that the agency could collect extensive information about mobile users with just their phone numbers because authorities have access to the national identification system and the user information stored by telecommunications companies. A politician arrested after the October 2021 coup claimed that the government traced his location and identified his close contacts based on his SIM card activity.4
Though all telecommunications providers can be compelled to aid the government in monitoring the communications of their users, authorities reportedly have a tighter grip on Zain and Sudatel than MTN. The GIS has been closely involved in telecommunication providers’ hiring processes in the past, though the practice may have decreased after 2019.5
Between January and July 2022, Meta did not receive any requests for data from the Sudanese government.6 This was the first period since 2013 for which Meta did not receive such requests.
- 1“تنصت على هاتف قتيل الكلاكله يقود لاعتقاله [Tapping the phone of the dead man's death leads to his arrest],” Darfur24, January 9, 2021, https://www.darfur24.com/2021/01/09/تنصت-على-هاتف-قتيل-الكلاكله-يقود-لا…; “بهاء الدين نوري: غضب في السودان بعد "تعذيبه حتى الموت" فما القصة؟ [Bahaa El-Din Nouri: Anger in Sudan after he was "tortured to death", so what is the story],” BBC, December 30, 2020, https://www.bbc.com/arabic/trending-55482088.
- 2Author’s research.
- 3Phone interview with unnamed source, February 23, 2019.
- 4Interview with unnamed politician, March 4, 2022.
- 5Author’s research.
- 6“Sudan – All Requests,” Facebook Transparency, accessed August 18, 2023, https://transparency.facebook.com/government-data-requests/country/SD.
|Are individuals subject to extralegal intimidation or physical violence by state authorities or any other actor in relation to their online activities?||1.001 5.005|
Score Change: The score declined from 2 to 1 because officials used verbal threats and physical violence in retaliation for users’ online activities.
Online journalists and activists often face extralegal intimidation, harassment, and violence in retaliation for their online activities. Violence against both online and traditional journalists increased following the outbreak of conflict between the SAF and the RSF as both sides have sought to control the narrative of the conflict and cover up human rights abuses.
On May 18, 2023, RSF soldiers stopped freelance journalist Eissa Dafaallah, who also reports using his Facebook account, while he was filming after fighting in Nyala, in Darfur. He was beaten even after identifying himself as a member of the press, and had his mobile phone and money stolen.1
On May 11, 2023, RSF forces stormed the offices of independent newspaper Al-Hirak al-Siyasi, which also publishes online, reportedly threatening staff members and looting equipment.2
On May 1, 2023, freelance photojournalist Faiz Abubaker, who frequently posts his photography on Instagram, was shot in the back by the RSF while filming clashes in Khartoum. He was then held at an RSF checkpoint for three hours, threatened at knifepoint, and beaten. 3 The RSF also went through the contents of his Facebook account and released him after he was able to prove that he was not affiliated with the SAF.4 Abubaker fled to Egypt after recovering from his wounds.
On social media, including WhatsApp and Facebook, lists of names of journalists alleged to be working for either side in the conflict have been circulated by anonymous accounts, potentially putting their lives in danger.5 One journalist whose name was among those circulated reported receiving multiple death threats over WhatsApp.6 A female journalist received threatening WhatsApp messages after she criticized the RSF in a private WhatsApp group for Sudanese media workers.7 Multiple journalists reported to Al Jazeera in May 2023 that they were considering fleeing Sudan due to fears they would be targeted by either the SAF or the RSF.8
In March 2023, journalist Ikhlas Nimir, who sometimes shares reporting from her public Facebook page and has worked for online media outlets in the past, was beaten by ten police officers and forced into a police car at gunpoint, where she was forcibly detained for ten hours after she took out her phone to record the demolition of homes in Khartoum (see C3).9
In January 2023, Azza Aira, an activist from Eastern Sudan, posted on Twitter that she received a threat from the governor of the Red Sea State, Mohamed Adroub Kalmoub.10
In September 2022, Amira Salih of Ultra Sudan, an online news outlet, was beaten with sticks while in detention by police after her coverage of a protest in Khartoum (see C3).11
The RSF information department manager sent a direct threat to the editor of the Monte Carro investigative website in September 2022.12
In August 2022, Saif Eldlien Adam Ahmed, an online activist from Darfur, was beaten while in detention after posting online about the arrest of four Christians who were charged with apostasy (see C3).13
In July 2022, Omer Arbab, a former military officer who became an online advocate, received a call from Ibrahim Jabir, a member of the TSC, saying that he was being watched and that they were able to “destroy him.”14
Security forces harassed protesters for their online activity during the coverage period, and authorities made attempts to restrict their online activities (see B8). Activists and protesters detained in recent years were subjected to torture by the authorities. Activists reported numerous cases of violent arrest by security forces and torture while in custody.15
Several activists, particularly women, have been targeted by harassment campaigns in the past. The campaigns appeared to be led by trolls mobilizing internet users opposed to women’s rights, especially in relation to Islam. In January and February 2021, Hanan Hassan, a lawyer and politician, was targeted with continuous reporting of her Facebook page, as well as online threats and harassment after making a controversial statement about the prophet Muhammad and one of his wives.16 She now uses another Facebook account and has changed her name on the platform. Tahani Abbas, an activist with No to Women’s Oppression, was the subject of a troll campaign; personal pictures of her were circulated with derogatory comments, along with comments labeling women’s rights activists in general as apostates, communists, and prostitutes.17
Minority groups such as LGBT+ people are also frequent targets of online harassment.18
- 1“Sudanese paramilitary soldiers assault at least 3 journalists, hold 2 overnight,” Committee to Protect Journalists, May 23, 2023, https://cpj.org/2023/05/sudanese-paramilitary-soldiers-assault-at-least….
- 2https://sudantribune.net/article273959/; The Syndicate of the Sudanese Journalists, “في انتهاك صارخ لحرية الصحافة والتعبير في السودان [In flagrant violation of freedom of the press and expression in Sudan],” Facebook, May 12, 2023, https://www.facebook.com/sdjsofficial/posts/pfbid0fshaRsT54YM4oRw7XdGAq….
- 3Sudanese Journalists Network, “تعرض المصور الصحفي فائز أبوبكر لطلق ناري [The photojournalist, Fayez Abu Bakr, was shot]”, Facebook, May 9, 2023, https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=pfbid02Dej4HjxfqGWKFy….
- 4Journalists shot, beaten, and harassed covering conflict between Sudan’s rival military groups,” Committee to Protect Journalists, May 30, 2023, https://cpj.org/2023/05/journalists-shot-beaten-and-harassed-covering-c….
- 5“Sudanese journalists condemn attacks, ‘anonymous lists’,” Dabanga Sudan, May 13, 2023, https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/sudanese-journalists-c….
- 6Mat Nashed, “Silencing dissent: Journalists in Sudan face threats, raids,” Al Jazeera, May 16, 2023, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/5/16/silencing-dissent-journalists-….
- 7Mat Nashed, “Silencing dissent: Journalists in Sudan face threats, raids,” Al Jazeera, May 16, 2023, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/5/16/silencing-dissent-journalists-….
- 8Mat Nashed, “Silencing dissent: Journalists in Sudan face threats, raids,” Al Jazeera, May 16, 2023, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/5/16/silencing-dissent-journalists-….
- 9Sudanese Journalists Syndicate, “[Statement of Public Opinion] بيان للرأي العام”, Facebook, March 12, 2023, https://www.facebook.com/sdjsofficial/posts/pfbid021v8S5x6J57Prq1BP6AEn….
- 10@azaa_aira, “علي خلفية حديثي عن تجاوزات بالولاية ، تلقيت تهديد من والي البحر الاحمر علي ادروب كلموب [Due to my talk about transgressions in the state, I received a threat from the governor of the Red Sea, Ali Adroub Kalmoub.],” Twitter, January 30, 2023, https://twitter.com/azaa_aira/status/1620158627054223360.
- 11African Center for Peace and Justice Studies, “Sudan: Sudanese authorities continue to crack-down on free press and freedom of expression,” September 25, 2022, https://www.acjps.org/sudan-sudanese-authorities-continue-to-crack-down….
- 12“وعيد وتهديد للعاملين بموقع مونتي كاروو وأسرهم من بعض منسوبي الدعم السريع [a threat to workers at the Monte Carro site and their families from some of the Rapid Support employees],” Monte Carro, October 1, 2022, https://montecarro.com/threats-to-monte-caro-from-rsf/.
- 13African Center for Peace and Justice Studies, “Central Darfur: A human rights defender arrested, tortured and charged with defamation over a social media post in Zalingi city,” September 10, 2022, https://www.acjps.org/central-darfur-a-human-rights-defender-arrested-t….
- 14“الفريق ابراهيم جابر يوجه تهديداً للمقدم معاش عمر أرباب [Lieutenant General Ibrahim Jaber threatens Lieutenant Colonel Omar Arbab],” Alrakoba, July 16, 2022, https://perma.cc/LV6C-3T3W.
- 15“Human rights activist, businessman detained in Sudan capital,” Radio Dabanga, March 6, 2020, https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/human-rights-activist-…; “The Arrest of Mr. Elsafi Eldegain by SAF in Aleri Ghareib, Sudan – Update (2),” HUDO Centre, June 9, 2020, https://hudocentre.org/the-arrest-of-mr-elsafi-eldegain-by-saf-in-aleri….
- 16Al-Hassan Muhammad, “حملة واسعة في السودان ضد إحدى أعضاء لجنة إعداد قانون الأحوال الشخصية و تداول واسع لوسم #حنان حسين تسيء_للرسول في تويتر [A massive campaign in Sudan against a member of the Personal Status Law Preparation Committee and the widespread circulation of the tag # Hanan Hussein offending the Messenger on Twitter],” Resala Post, January 12, 2021, https://resalapost.com/2021/01/12/ حملة-واسعة-في-السودان-ضد-إحدى-أعضاء-لجن; see also “لجنة اعداد قانون الاحوال الشخصية حنان حسين [Committee for the Preparation of Personal Status Law Hanan Hussein],” Twitter Search, last accessed February 25, 2021, https://twitter.com/search?q=لجنة اعداد قانون الاحوال الشخصية حنان حسين.. Mustafa Sakin, a TikToker with over twenty thousand followers on his @mu2tafa_sakin account, released a video in January 2021 urging members of the TSC to act against Hassan.
- 17“Battle of the Screenshots: How Cyberbullying Intimidates, Threatens, and Endangers Women Activists in Sudan,” Al-khatim Adlan Center for Enlightenment and Human Development, May 2020, https://web.archive.org/web/20210726102911/https://www.kacesudan.org/wp….
- 18“Battle of the Screenshots: How Cyberbullying Intimidates, Threatens, and Endangers Women Activists in Sudan,” Al-khatim Adlan Center for Enlightenment and Human Development, May 2020, https://web.archive.org/web/20210726102911/https://www.kacesudan.org/wp….
|Are websites, governmental and private entities, service providers, or individual users subject to widespread hacking and other forms of cyberattack?||1.001 3.003|
Cyberattacks were reported less frequently during the coverage period than in previous years.
In January 2023, the official Facebook page of the Almareikh football club was hacked by the “Sudan Cyber Security” hacking group,1 after an individual tied to RSF commander Dagalo became the club’s president.2
In November 2022, the government released a statement that an inauthentic website was impersonating the official Sudan News Agency site.3
In previous years, independent news sites have been subjected to technical attacks, which many believe are perpetrated by the cyberjihad unit (see B5). Attacks usually intensify around significant political events and unrest, while some prominent news sites ward off daily distributed denial-of-service attacks. Several online outlets reported technical attacks against their websites in past years but were able to respond by increasing their cybersecurity capabilities.
- 1“«هكرز» يخترق صفحة المريخ بعد ساعات من فوز ابوجيبين [“Hackers" hacked the Almareikh page, hours after Abu Jaibain's victory],” Matarees, January 01, 2023, https://perma.cc/NJ8F-RBZH.
- 2Author’s research.
- 3Spokesperson Platform, “سونا تنبه مشتركيها بإختراق هويتها البصرية [Suna warns its followers that its visual identity has been hacked]”, November 10, 2022, https://spokesperson.gov.sd/?p=3550.
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Global Freedom Score10 100 not free
Internet Freedom Score30 100 not free
Freedom in the World StatusNot Free