Yesterday, November 23rd, marked the International Day to End Impunity, a day to demand justice for the hundreds of journalists worldwide who have been murdered because of their work. A free and open press is vital for the growth and development of a democratic society.
Sudan is notorious for its lack of free speech. One of the most high profile cases to emerge in recent years was the case of Lubna Hussein in 2009; though Lubna is a journalist, she was arrested by Sudan's Pulbic Order Regime police for wearing trousers and sentenced to forty lashes after refusing on principle to pay a fine. Ten journalists who reported Lubna's case inside Sudan were subsequently imprisoned also.
The worlds newest state, South Sudan, a mere five months old, is already displaying a worrying tendency to imprison journalists critical of the government. Only this week, two journalists were released after being imprisoned for two weeks, just for writing an editorial which criticised the South Sudanese President.
There are many more cases, too numerous to cite here, of journalists being persecuted and prosecuted for merely doing their job and carrying out an invaluable democratic service. We should all defend press freedom; without it, we have no society.